KNUTSFORD and Holmes Chapel's leisure centres could be under threat of closure after a new proposal to withdraw their funding was revealed.

Cheshire East Council's environment and communities committee is to meet to discuss its leisure services across the borough.

This comes as the council is facing mounting financial pressure, with an £18.7 million shortfall forecast for this year's budget.

The plans, which include funding being removed from other centres such as Middlewich and Poynton, would see the sites either close or be operated on a commercial basis.

Chair of the committee, councillor Mick Warren, said: “The health and wellbeing of our residents is extremely important to the council, and leisure centres and the services they offer are a key part of supporting our residents to lead healthier lifestyles.

“But, in the context of the wider financial challenges the council is facing, we must consider the long-term affordability of these services, and where funding should be focused so that it has the biggest impact for the greatest number of people.”

Currently the borough’s leisure centres are operated on behalf of the council by Everybody Health and Leisure.

At the committee’s meeting on November 9, a report will be presented which provides an update on the council’s strategic review of these leisure centres.

In this report, all 15 of the sites are given a score based on usage and health data.

The centres are then put into one of two categories, with all those receiving a score of 20 or lower going into group two, which would mean the removal of financial support from the council.

According to the report, just 5.2 per cent of all visitors to the council's leisure centres attend Knutsford, with just 2.5 per cent going to Holmes Chapel.

It reads: “Knutsford Leisure Centre (16) scores low on both usage and the public health assessments undertaken and site services the smallest population from a Care Community perspective with low participation from two of the three wards.

“Holmes Chapel Leisure Centre (6) site has the lowest number of visits and registered memberships across all categories. Membership has decreased marginally since the start of the current operating contract.

"It does not feature in public health areas of need with Congleton offering a larger more well equipped offer.”

The report continues, outlining the plans for the two centres.

For Knutsford it states that the existing site located at Knutsford Academy is to be closed as a leisure centre from April 1, 2024, ahead of a full handover following any decommissioning activities in mid-2024/25.

Meanwhile, the centre at Holmes Chapel Holmes Comprehensive School is to be closed and 'specific leisure functions' transferred to the centre facility at Holmes Chapel Community Centre.

It adds that a replacement facility in 2024/25 is 'subject to notice period of joint access agreement'.

Subject to the committee’s approval, a public consultation will launch later this month.