THE Liberal Democrats on Pendle Council have warned a 'strategic review' of the borough's leisure trust could lead to its privatisation or a limited service for the better-off.

The group is concerned at the implications of the exercise approved by the authority's Policy and Resources Committee last month.

LibDem leader David Whipp has tabled a motion to Pendle Borough's Full Council meeting on September 25 saying the trust's assets most not be sold off or donated to private interests and its three main leisure centres/swimming pools in Barnoldswick, Colne and Nelson should remain open.

Cllr Whipp said: “There is a serious concern that the review as planned by the Conservative Council leadership is a backdoor to selling off some of the services and privatising the provision of the rest.

“They say they will keep the three main leisure centres in Nelson, Colne and Barnoldswick, but there is no guarantee they will not be handed over to profit-making enterprises or that services will not be priced out of reach of many local people – often the ones who need them the most."

Cllr Paul White, leader of the ruling Conservative group, said: "Cllr Whipp is scaremongering. This is the beginning of a process not the end of it.

"He is saying keep everything exactly as it is.

"This is about ensuring the leisure provision in Pendle is fit for purpose over the next 10, 20 or 30 years and offers council taxpayers value for money."