Town is set to benefit from leisure services takeover says boss
5:30am Friday 29th August 2014 in By Mike Benke, @Michael_Benke
THE company which is set to take over the running of the leisure facilities in Swindon has said it is a positive move for the town.
Greenwich Leisure Limited, a social enterprise company, was named as the preferred bidder by the council several months ago.
In a bid to save cash, the council is leasing out all the leisure facilities.
It means GLL, which currently runs the Oasis on a day-to-day basis, will take over the Link, Croft Sports Centre, Delta Tennis, Dorcan Recreation Complex and the Health Hydro.
Negotiations are taking place on the final details of the agreement but it is hoped GLL will take over officially on November 1.
The company is the largest leisure charitable company in the country and runs more than 100 sites, including the Copper Box Arena and Aquatics Centre, in the Olympic Park, London.
Chris Symons, the director of development for GLL, said: “This is something which is really good news for Swindon.
“We are a charity so we are not here one day and then gone the next, nor are we developers looking to make a quick buck.
“It is in our DNA to increase the health and accessibility within Swindon.
“We are not a big business but our business is big, which is a good thing.
“It gives us advantages in terms of economies of scales and expertise.
“As we are not in the public sector we are not bound by the same rules, so we can adapt to change much easier.
“Swindon is an ideal location for us. We have a portfolio of venues along the M4 corridor, which the town is in the middle of.”
Mr Symons has also moved to reassure people that any alterations they see will be positive and there will be no dramatic price rise.
He said: “I know when people see change they are concerned, especially because this is a relatively new way of doing things.
“In effect it is not much different to the council contracting out services but for a longer period of time.
“I am not saying there is anything wrong at the minute but we can improve the service.
“For example, at the minute people cannot book online which is something we can change almost straight away.
“When it comes to pricing the proof is in the pudding.
“We run the Oasis and there have been no dramatic rises there.
“Certainly any rise would not take people’s breath away.
“As I said, GLL is a charity so we are committed to ensuring as many people as possible can use the facilities.”