Cascades to open longer over Christmas holidays - but not everyone’s happy

PT21-238 Cascades
PT21-238 Cascades

Cascades Leisure Centre will be open longer over the Christmas holidays, after the council took on board complaints from users over the past number of years.

The days were agreed at this week’s meeting of ABC Council, although some councillors were still unhappy with the outcome.

In previous years, Cascades closed for around 10 days but this year that number has been halved.

DUP councillor Carla Lockhart said the changes had been reached after “a lot of pushing”.

Under the rearranged hours, Cascades will close from December 24-28 inclusive and on New Year’s Day.

Cascades member Stephen Peters welcomed the increase saying, “As a long-term member and regular user it is good news. Christmas is a key time for families to spend time together.”

However, Cascades and Waves in Lurgan will still be open for a day less than the leisure centres in Craigavon, Banbridge and Armagh.

In the past there had been complaints from the public about the disparity in hours between the leisure centres in the Craigavon Council area, with Brownlow remaining open longer than Portadown and Lurgan.

Alderman Kenneth Twyble had told a previous meeting of the leisure services committee that in previous years the rationale for Brownlow staying open was because it had a dry area for sport.

Ulster Unionist councillor Colin McCusker has opposed the closure of Waves and Cascades on December 28 in light of Craigavon, Banbridge and Armagh centres being open from 9am-5pm on the same day.

He said, “Every Christmas I am contacted by service users who feel frustrated that their leisure centre is closed while others remain open. It is vital that as we enter the era of the much larger borough, that opening times for our leisure centres must be consistent across the board.”

Ms Lockhart said new data would be collected over Christmas to inform any future opening decisions.