Colchester Leisure World | Barber Jackson 

Conservative engage in battle to keep Leisure World café open

Closure of the popular Leisure World café was hidden deep in the Council’s budget papers (page 200 of 202) presented on 23rd January 2024 by the Lib-Dem controlled Cabinet. This was part of a Lib-Dem plan to review several Council facilities as part of their ill-conceived “Fit for the Future” strategy to cut services.

The proposed closure caused a massive outcry across the City. The Lib-Dem Cabinet totally failed to acknowledge the importance of the cafe to the Leisure World community, or recognise its value as a social hub and meeting place for families.

Cllr Dennis Willetts, (Lexden & Braiswick Ward), Conservative spokesman on the Council’s Commercial Services said: “The cafe is an integral part of the Leisure World Service.  If the Council is unable to run the Café, they should look for a private sector supplier, community partnerships or some innovative business model to keep the cafe open. That is overwhelmingly what residents want.

Cllr Paul Dundas, (Tiptree Ward) Leader of the Conservative Group, said: “If the Lib Dems are so disinterested in running Leisure World properly, they should hand over the entire Leisure World service to the private sector.

Following the public outcry, I understand that the Lib Dems admit that we were totally wrong and completely misjudged public opinion.

I urge Leisure World users to keep up the pressure on the Council to ensure there is no further under-hand attempt to close the café in the Council’s next financial report (on page 200 of 202) ”