CULCHETH Community Campus could be closed as part of cost cutting measures at LiveWire.

The leisure firm and Warrington Borough Council have announced a series of cost-saving measures aimed at safeguarding the long-term future of leisure and library services after the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a substantial loss of income.

A £3.2 million loss of commercial income is being reported by LiveWire this year.

As reported in the Guardian earlier this month, the council has already bailed out the firm.

This year’s Covid-19 pandemic has seen LiveWire’s leisure and library sites closed for a large proportion of the year, severely impacting on the vital commercial income generated through avenues such as leisure memberships, which have yet to return to pre-lockdown levels.

LiveWire has launched a new ‘At Home’ membership platform to help members stay active and address the challenges of the ongoing pandemic, as well as accessing the Government’s Job Retention Scheme.

But bosses say the loss of £3.2m plus the ongoing uncertainty has brought the cuts forward

What is being proposed?

• The launch of a joint consultation exercise forming part of a process to consider the permanent closure of Culcheth Community Campus leisure site.

• The Birchwood Library offer to move into Birchwood Leisure & Tennis Complex following a redesign.

This is being considered as part of the ongoing libraries modernisation programme, supported by the Libraries Partnership Board.

• Leisure and Library sites to continue to operate reduced opening hours until full capacity is reached and customer demand exceeds availability. For the same reasons Westbrook Library to remain closed until a sustainable re-opening plan can be delivered.

What have bosses said?

Emma Hutchinson, managing director of LiveWire, said: “We are not unique in facing significant challenges as a result of this pandemic but it has had a huge impact on us in terms of income and we do need to take steps to address how to preserve our services moving forward. We know people love their local leisure and library services, and we’re doing everything we can to protect these. We’re also trying to preserve local jobs. These are incredibly difficult decisions we do not take lightly.

“Since our inception, LiveWire’s mission has been to improve the wellbeing of Warrington’s residents and address health inequalities in our communities. This is more important than ever. We want to make sure that all residents can access leisure and libraries services provided by LiveWire however these services inevitably may have to change given the challenges and uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic.

“Moving forward, we need the support of our members and the Warrington community. If you can, please sign up for LiveWire@Home during the lockdown period. And when we reopen, and you are in a position to, please restart your membership, to help us weather this storm and allow us to maintain services moving forward.”

Councillor Tony Higgins, WBC’s cabinet member for leisure and community, said: “We are proud of our leisure and libraries offer in Warrington and we know how valuable they are to local people. The last thing we want to do is change or reduce these services. However, the unprecedented challenges and huge financial impact of Covid-19, means we have no choice but to consider cost-saving proposals.

“By acting now, we can help safeguard the future of these services, increase our resilience against the ongoing uncertainty caused by the pandemic and protect jobs. I would like to reassure everyone we will do all we can to limit the impact any measures will have on the community”

The consultation survey and accompanying background information can be found here: