A charity that is relinquishing control of the leisure centre it runs due to soaring bills says it is 'committed' to finding ways to keep it open.

It was revealed last week that Richmondshire Leisure Trust (RLT) – which runs three leisure services in the district - was facing an increase in bills at Colburn Leisure Centre from £15,000 last year to a new annual price of £72,000.

The trust, which also runs Richmond Pool and Liberty Gym in Richmond, told the town council last week that it could no longer operate the leisure centre under its present arrangement due to the soaring costs.

RLT then gave notice of its intention to terminate its operating contract on November 30, 2022, raising questions over the centre’s future.

This week, the trust's general manager Austin Gordon said that it was committed to finding ways to ensure that the leisure services it runs will stay open for the community.

Mr Gordon said: “Richmondshire Leisure Trust is currently operating in an increasingly challenging business climate.

The Northern Echo: Austin Gordon, general manager of Richmondshire Leisure Trust (file photo)Austin Gordon, general manager of Richmondshire Leisure Trust (file photo) (Image: Northern Echo)

“Its utilities contract has recently expired and costs for energy have now increased by over 400 per cent across its three sites.

“This is occurring at a time when other operating costs are significantly increasing.

“In addition, some customers are struggling to fund basic living expenses which is impacting on our income levels.

“We recognise that Richmond Pool, Liberty Gym and Colburn Leisure Centre are much-valued facilities which play a key role in supporting our community's physical and mental wellbeing.

“RLT remain committed to working with its partners and customers in order to continue to provide these much-needed services.

“We have been lobbying at local and national level in order to raise awareness on these huge pressures.

“We will continue to keep our community updated on developments during this challenging period.”

Colburn Leisure Centre opened in 2002 and in 2011 it became part of the RLT, a registered charity which provides leisure activities and community development services in the district.

As a charity, any surplus income generated by the services it provides is directly reinvested back into them to continue improving the facilities.

Colburn Leisure Centre is a popular venue and is the base for the gold medal-winning Richmondshire Gymnastics club.

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