THE Mill arts and events centre in Rayleigh could remain closed until it is redeveloped because cost in the current climate is “unsustainable”.

Rochford district councillors will next month consider the future of the centre, in the heart of Rayleigh, as they consider the contract with leisure services provider, Fusion Lifestyle.

The proposal, to be considered by councillors, would enable Fusion to continue to manage Clements Hall Leisure Centre, in Hawkwell, and Rayleigh Leisure Centre.

If approved, the Mill Arts and Events Centre, in Rayleigh would remain closed until the site is redeveloped. The building forms part of the “Asset Delivery Programme” with the site set to be re-developed as a new community centre, with space retained for council use, the site would also deliver residential use. If approved Castle Hall in Rayleigh, would also remain closed.

The council says prior to the pandemic, the Mill Arts and Events Centre and Castle Hall ran at significant losses. In recent months, there has been a lack of demand due to Covid-19 restrictions. The council says the cost to operate these buildings in the current climate is unsustainable.

The Freight House in Rochford, which is also managed by Fusion, would remain closed because this is one of the buildings proposed for early redevelopment as a new community and civic space within the council’s Asset Delivery Programme.

The council says it will continue to work with and support groups and organisations that are currently, or were previously, using Freight House, The Mill Arts and Events Centre or Castle Hall and who would like assistance to identify alternative facilities where possible.

Cllr Mike Webb, Rochford District councillor responsible for the community, said: “As a Council, we value our leisure facilities and the important role they play in the health and wellbeing of our residents, and this is always foremost in our minds as we consider future contracts, while also carefully reviewing the impact that Covid-19 has had on the leisure industry.

“Despite the effects of the pandemic, we are fortunate in that the Freight House and the Mill Arts and Events Centre site are already due for redevelopment in the future as part of our Asset Delivery Programme, which we anticipate will be completed by 2023, providing exciting community facilities for our residents in the years ahead.”