Eden Council did not receive any financial recognition for Penrith Leisure Centre being readied to become a recovery facility for COVID-19 patients — but the town gym and pool does now have a better broadband connection.
A meeting of the district authority’s overview and scrutiny committee was told none of the recovery centres which were prepared in North Cumbria at Penrith, Carlisle or Whitehaven were needed, as the hospitals were able to cope with the bed space which they had themselves, but they had been there on stand-by in case intensive care beds needed to be freed up for those people most in need.
Although the district council did not receive any sort of financial recognition for that, Les Clark, Eden Council’s director of people and place, said: “We did have one key benefit in that the army, which was preparing the recovery centres, on behalf of the NHS, upgraded the broadband link to the centre tand have left that in situ for us to use going forward.”
The meeting was told that at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, Eden was estimating an additional cost of £1.2 million as a result of COVID-19, which includes costs and projections going forward to the end of the year, but that figure has now gone to just over £800,000.
To date, the council has received about £680,000 from the Government to cover the additional expenditure.
“At the minute we are running at a deficit of over £100,00, but we expect the projected total currently at £800,000 to be less than that by the time we get to the end of the financial year,” said Mr Clark.
Following risk assessments having been carried out, the Town Hall is now open for appointments for visitors, with screens having been set up in interview rooms, and signs indicating which way people should go in order to comply with social-distancing guidelines.
However, only about 25 or 30 people can be in the Town Hall at any one time and a similar number in Mansion House, in order to be safe-working environments, the meeting was told.