FITNESS fanatics have been reassured that council-run leisure centres across Brighton and Hove will reopen, but not straight away.

The city council said the sites would be opened gradually as new safety measures have to be put in place.

This follows more than four months of enforced closure as Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered gyms to shut as part of the UK lockdown which aimed to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Concerned gym-goers contacted The Argus ahead of July 25, the day named by the Government for the reopening of gyms and indoor pools across the UK, to ask when their nearest council-run leisure centre would be reopening.

The council owns seven sports sites in the city; the Withdean Sports Complex, the Prince Regent Swimming Complex, the Stanley Deason Leisure Centre, St Luke’s Pool​​ and the Moulsecoomb Community Leisure Centre, all in Brighton. It also owns the King Alfred Leisure Centre in Hove and the Portslade Sports Centre.

The Argus:

These are operated by Freedom Leisure.

But members, who did not want to be named, said they were worried for the future of their favourite venues after it was announced that Impulse Leisure was at risk of collapse.

The firm, which is contracted by Adur District Council to run Lancing Manor Leisure Centre, Southwick Leisure Centre and Waders Community Pool in Shoreham said it was in “severe” financial difficulty and up to 150 jobs are now at risk.

But Brighton and Hove City Council said this was not the case with its Freedom Leisure sites and the Prince Regent and the King Alfred leisure centres will be reopening eventually.

A council spokesman said: “We are working closely with Freedom Leisure with a view to gradually opening the city’s leisure facilities.

“We need to take into account the running costs, along with all the additional measures that need to be put in place. These include the high levels of cleanliness and hygiene required, together with social distancing which will impact on capacity.

Our aim is to ensure that, when they do open, our centres provide a safe environment for customers in line with Government and Industry guidance.”

Yesterday the first of the sites reopened – the Withdean Sports Complex.

The Argus:

But the council admitted that “as with many other areas, leisure centres have been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak, leaving many councils and their leisure partners stretched to the limit financially".

A spokesman said: "Without additional government support for leisure services there is a huge funding gap when taking into account the cost of running the facilities with all the additional measures that need to be put in place. These include physical distancing, which will impact on capacity, and the high levels of cleanliness and hygiene required.

"Nationally, the Local Government Association is continuing to highlight the need for urgent measures to support the leisure sector to survive and earlier this month wrote to the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport."