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Protesters’ joy as cafes win reprieve
Cafes at three leisure centres across the district which were due to close down this weekend have been given a temporary three-month reprieve.
Bradford Council took a budget decision in February to save £40,000 a year by closing the cafes at three authority-run venues – Richard Dunn Sports Centre in Odsal (pictured), the Leisure Centre in Keighley and Shipley Pool. They intended to close them from June 10 and install extra vending machines selling a wider variety of goods – hot and cold drinks, snacks, sandwiches, salads and home baking.
But following a campaign to save the Richard Dunn cafe by groups that use it and MPs, which also gained the backing of the boxing legend himself, the Council has agreed to look at other options at all three loss-making cafes.
Bradford South Labour MP Gerry Sutcliffe, whose constituency covers Odsal, has had a meeting with Council leader David Green on the subject.
He said he was very pleased with the outcome.
“It’s good news that the Council has listened to what people have said. We now need to use the next three months to see how we can get the cafe to work.”
Councillor Andrew Thornton, the Council’s executive member for environment, sport and sustainability, said: “We are continuing to talk to interested parties regarding the future of leisure centre cafes.
“We are open to explore alternatives while at the same time recognising that the Council can no longer subsidise the operation of the café at Richard Dunn and other loss making cafes at Shipley Swimming Pool and Keighley Leisure Centre.
“Bradford Council needs to reduce costs in order to maintain vital services in the context of having to make a total of £72 million savings last year and this year.
“The cafes will continue to operate for a further period of up to three months to allow time for potential alternatives to be explored.”
Last month the Telegraph & Argus reported how boxing legend Richard Dunn has backed the campaign to save the cafe at the sports centre which bears his name. He said he was disappointed to hear that the Council was to shut the cafe and that it would be a pity to close it down.