Freedom Leisure Pool Closure Due to Cost of Living Crises

Published on: October 13th 2022

The swimming pool at Rye Sports Centre, East Sussex will temporarily close due to unprecedented increases in energy costs.

Freedom Leisure, one of the leading charitable and not-for-profit leisure trusts in the UK, which manages Rye Sports Centre in partnership with Rother District Council, has had to announce the temporary closure of the swimming pool at the sports centre from 1 November 2022. 

The gym and other sports facilities at the centre will remain open.

Following discussions with Rother District Council, Freedom Leisure has taken the decision to close the pool due to escalating energy costs. The pool will close over the winter and the decision will be reviewed again in the spring. This review will be dependent on whether there is significant improvement in the wholesale price of energy or further government support.

Freedom Leisure has recently seen its annual energy bill move from £8m to £20m and this is despite the recent government announcement outlining the short-term support available for businesses.

Ivan Horsfall Turner, Freedom Leisure’s CEO says; “We are frankly devastated that it has come to this and that the people of Rother will be without this vital community facility. Operating and maintaining swimming pools is a large proportion of our overall energy costs. As a not-for-profit leisure trust we operate at very low surpluses and these increases simply cannot be absorbed by Freedom Leisure.”

Cllr Hazel Timpe, Rother District Council’s portfolio holder for communities, culture and tourism, said: “It is extremely important that facilities supported by the public purse remain as accessible as possible. However, we appreciate that many individuals and organisations up and down the country are facing soaring energy costs and are having to make some very difficult decisions which are sadly unavoidable.

“We are committed to working with Freedom Leisure to find a way forward that may enable the swimming pool at Rye Sports Centre to reopen as soon as possible.”

Freedom Leisure will be contacting all its customers affected by this decision including those on their swimming lessons programme to discuss the options available to them including relocating to nearby swimming pools operated by Freedom Leisure.