Sunday, March 26, 2023

Impulse Leisure under “serious threat” of closure

THE SPECTRE of closure for three council-funded sports centres in Thurrock edged a step nearer after a meeting of the council’s Health and Well-Being committee on Thursday night.

As part of the savage cuts, the council are proposing to cut the £600,000 grant in half for 2010-11 to £300,000 and in half again to £150,000 by 2011-12.

The three sports centres are based in Belhus, Corringham and Blackshots.

Impulse Leisure is a Charitable Trust, which manages Thurrock Council’s three Leisure Centre at Corringham, Blackshots and Belhus Park. The Trust
was set up during 1999 and formally took over the management of Thurrock Council’s Leisure Centres in 2000.

In 2001, the annual grant was £1,154,000. Analysts believe that it will be nigh on impossible for the centre to run with a grant deficit of £1 million in ten years.

According to the council, Impulse Leisure made a trading loss of approximately £250,000 between 2007 and 2009.

Last year, Thurrock Council gave the council a one off payment of £250k after there were serious concerns regarding bankruptcy.

The council admitted even a small reduction would damage the operational ability of the three centres.

The council’s Let’s Talk consultation said: “Even a 10 per cent reduction would have a very significant adverse affect on service provision. The closure of a leisure centre might be an outcome of a significant reduction.”

But councillors admitted that these cuts could see the end of all three centres.

Stifford councillor Anji Gaywood said: “We have a nationally renowned Thurrock swimming club that could now be made homeless and thousands of residents with nowhere to enjoy sport.”

Conservative councillors pleaded with the committee to divert money for a credit union and put it into saving the three centres (see sep. article). The committee also proposed that the cuts be spread over four years instead of two.

Cllr Wendy Herd asked how discussions with Impulse Leisure were progressing.

Council officer Simon Black said: “Discussions with the chief executive were at their earliest stages.”

Outside the meeting, a source close to YourThurrock said: “This is what the council leader John Kent meant when he said that people don’t know what is going to hit them. This is just the beginning.”


  1. Impulse Leisure got £250k extra last year of the Tories on top of their normal 600k that’s 800k what happened to there business plan for last 10 years?

    I do believe that 2 Thurrock Tories sit on the board of impulse leisure didn’t they see this coming, they spent all the councils money! Now expect the labour party to What “BORROW” when they slammed all the borrowing of national!

    What happened to there business plan have they not been working towards self financing because at the end of the day our council tax shouldn’t have to keep propping u these private companies!

    This is a direct result of the Con-Dem Governments £15 million cuts on Thurrock just this year!


  2. If a business is continually trading at a loss then it may be time to look at private buyers for the Leisure Centres, the tax payer cannot keep bailing Impulse out

    It will be a big shame if all three centres are closed after all are we not as a nation trying to fight obesity and the closure of any health/leisure facillity is going to fall against these plans

  3. Thurrock going down the pan and if it were a private business we would probably be bankrupt – the tories spent the reserves the senior leadership for the past five years executive and lay has been weak and unfocused.

    I agree close down Impulse Leisure Trust and take the services back under the council. Rationalise the centres and focus on making Blackshots a health and wellbeing hub like Castle Green in Dagenham at Goresbrook. Two schools, leisure centre and libary all sharing the same space – good economics I think. Relocate Williams Edwards if necessary and do something properly strategic for once.

    The investment in Dagenham Swimming Pool means two decent sites in that Borough. Why does Thurrock think it can have faciilities in each neighbourhood – we are too small and cant afford it. Now we are probably going to lose everything and it is clearly not fair to blame Cllr Worrall her tory predecessors must be held to account.

    Mr Farant show us that you are fit for the job – get a grip and pull Thurrock Council back on track – if you arent up for it then maybe we should merge with Basildon they seem to be striding ahead! Who would have thought it – unitary was not so great after all……….

  4. My observations.

    To Grays 88 – there are two Labour Councillors that sit on the board of Impulse Leisure as well – did your Labour chums see it coming as well?

    Distressedmaiden – the tories never built the three leisure centres or gave the contract to a private company – it was done under the previous Labour run council.

    Thurrock Council did have four leisure centres. Labour sold off the one in Tilbury. It has since closed down.

    At the end of the day the only way for these three centres to survive is not tobe given more taxpayers money but for more local people to use them – use them or lose them – simple.

  5. Thank you Mr Peterson, unfortunnally I am not wrong! I will show you how I am not wrong the two councillors that sit on the (Outside Representation) are
    Tunde Ojetola 09/06/2010 Appointed for term of office as a Councillor
    Neil Rockliffe 16/06/2010 Appointed for term of office as a Councillor
    The website is:

    As for the matter that the Labour party gave the contract it was given 10 years ago to impulse leisure as a Trust! I agree Labour should have ensured that they should use this as a business and not to be expected to be bailed out from the state! “Like the Tories bailed them out!”

    Thurrock council did have four leisure facilities that is right! The one in Tilbury was never run by Impulse Leisure!

    And finally I do agree with you it should no longer be given tax payers money! Or we should only ONE should get support from the council and that should be Blackshots as it is located in Grays as a Centre base! But not at the existing rate we are paying for them!

  6. Grays88 thank you for that. It does surprise me as I am sure there was supposed to be cross party representation on the board? Perhaps I am thinking of the 4 councillors on the development corporation?

    Of course the company bidding for the contract no doubt presented the council with some wonderful paperwork showing how the subsidy would reduce every year as they made more and more profit from the leisure centres. As they havn’t then they have broken the contract and should be sacked by the council.

    I wonder if the people running Impulse still pay themselves a nice big wage?

    Blackshots should be a sports hub for the borough with football stadium a proper olympic size swimming pool and olympic standard diving boards. Perhaps move the libary there as well to make it a community hub. Basildon is pushing ahead with a sports village as they know in the long term it will benefit the whole borough.


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