WEST Dean Parish Council has vowed to fight to keep the threatened Five Acres Leisure Centre open in spite of pending budget cuts.

It says it may even be prepared to ‘chip in’ from its own coffers to keep the facility running.

The leisure centre could close as early as April next year as the Forest of Dean District Council has made no provision for its financial support in its draft 2018/9 budget.

However the parish council says closure of the Five acres site would virtually wreck its Berry Hill, Christchurch and Edge End Neighbourhood Development Plan - which is subject to a referendum in February.

Cllr Gwilliam as chairman of the parish council, said: “A key part of the NDP is the community’s aspirations and the vision developed for the future of the Five Acres site currently occupied by Gloucestershire College and the leisure centre.

“The NDP provides a blueprint for an enhanced leisure and recreational site at the Gloucestershire College site, which will develop the theatre, sports fields and leisure centre into a major community, tourist and recreational destination.

West Dean Parish Council wish to re emphasise its support of those community aspirations, reached after extensive consultation with the public and local stakeholders and extensive fieldwork and research by the active Berry Hill and Christchurch community.

“It is with huge regret that before these aspirations can begin development the District Council has allowed a situation to arise that may see the closure of the Leisure facility in April 2018 due to a lack of funding."

Cllr Gwilliam, who only took over as leader of the district council in July, inherited the draft budget from the previous administration and said: “We have started a review of all existing facilities to develop a modern and exciting vision for the future.”