THE future of the West Craven Sports Centre is safe after Pendle Council said it was committed to all three of its leisure centres, including the one in Barnoldswick.

Last year, the then council commissioned a strategic review of its leisure facilities which was aimed at 'improving facilities in the borough', but which critics said was looking at reducing the number of centres to just one, or two at the most.

But at a recent meeting of the council's executive, the new Labour/Liberal Democrat-shared administration committed to retaining all three of its leisure centres, in Colne, Nelson and Barnoldswick.

The council will now take a closer look at the centres, which are costing millions to run every year, to see what is needed in terms of repair, maintenance and facilities.

Councillor Asjad Mahmood, leader of Pendle Borough Council, said: “Following a discussion during the meeting, members made a commitment to keep all three leisure facilities open.

“We feel it is imperative to have a leisure centre in each town. We do not want to close any of the centres – we need to maintain and develop them instead.”

He added “We appreciate each of the facilities do need repair, maintenance and modernisation work doing on them; so the next step is to look at what needs doing and how to go about it.”

The council’s overview and scrutiny committee will be asked to examine how the facilities can be made financially viable, including the mix of features. Town and parish councils and users of the leisure facilities will also be consulted as part of the process.

Councillor David Whipp, deputy leader of the council, and member for the Earby and Coates ward, added: “We feel it is important for the people of Pendle to have a leisure centre in each town - somewhere easily accessible for everyone to be able to exercise and stay healthy.”

He added West Craven councillors would fight 'tooth and nail' to keep the Barnoldswick centre open.

"The West Craven swimming pool was built after a long-running campaign by young Liberals in the town, with the sports hall added after another fight in the 1990s.

"We'll fight tooth and nail to find a way to keep our sports facilities open and make them sustainable for the future. With Pendle Council's reserves running perilously low, it's now urgent that we find a way of reducing the subsidy needed to keep these facilities open."

The recent increase in energy bills has also impacted on the leisure centres.