VILLAGERS are being warned to use their leisure centre...or lose it.

Councillors fear Tiptree Leisure World could have to close if it continues to be underused and now want to raise its profile by working with Colchester Council and Miles Bacon, headteacher at Thurstable School, where Leisure World is based. 

Roger Mannion, vice chairman of Tiptree Parish Council, warned without wider promotion, the council-run centre could shut.

He said: “Historically there has been a lack of knowledge within the village about Leisure World.

“What we’re trying to say to residents is, there’s an improving facility on our doorstep so get out and use it otherwise it may not be here in the next ten or so years.

“It’s on Thurstable’s site so the school uses it, which means there’s a limited amount of time to use it in the daytime, but it’s available during the evenings and at weekends.

“We’re planning to have a meeting with Leisure World’s managers to see what can be done to promote it more widely in the village.”

A climbing wall and indoor and outdoor sports pitches are the main attractions at the Tiptree site with members also being able to access the gym as well as a small number of keep fit classes.

It is also home to several sports clubs which book out the different facilities.

Although Mr Mannion says the council does not yet have usage figures for the site, there is growing concern over Leisure World’s long-term future as people opt for nearby Prested Hall Health Club and Atlantis Gym and Spa.

He said: “People pay their money for choice but it’s more so that people just don’t know Leisure World exists.

“In some respects it probably has better facilities than some of the other private facilities.”

In a bid to motivate villagers to stay energised, an outdoor fitness trail could also be built in Tiptree.

It is still early days but Grove Road playing field and Park Lane Nature Reserve have been suggested as potential spots.

Mr Mannion said: “We’re nowhere close to making a firm decision but there is land available we can use, which is part of an ongoing investment the council wants for people in the village.

"The idea was mooted by the amenities committee and there will be investigations moving forward to see whether it’s a viable idea.”

To comment on the plans, email the parish clerk on