Leisure and Golf lease goes ahead

This Is Wiltshire: Coun Keith Williams Coun Keith Williams

TEMPERATURES soared inside and outside the council chamber on Thursday night as the future of the town’s golf and leisure services were decided.

On the hottest day of the year so far, the council voted to lease out all the facilities to private companies but not before several hours of heated debate.

All of the leisure facilities will be leased out to Greenwich Leisure Limited, a social enterprise company which runs the Oasis as well as many others around the country.

Broome Manor and Highworth Golf will be leased out to Twigmarket.

The move is being put forward to save the council an annual subsidy of £1.5 million a year as well as to attract several million pounds of investment.

However, motions were put forward to alter several aspects of the proposal with Labour arguing that the golf facilities should not be leased out because of they turn a profit.

The public galleries was also full as residents who live in Old Town attended to see if the Croft Fields could be removed from the proposal, something else which Labour wanted to see.

Last month a 1,700 signature petition was handed to the council arguing that including the fields as part of the lease would put them at risk of being taken out of public use.

In the end the whole plan got through heralding in a new era for the town’s facilities.

The Labour Group broadly supported the leisure aspect of the facility, with the exception of the Haydon Centre and the inclusion of the Croft fields, but objected to other aspects.

Many Labour councillors were also angry that up-to-date accounts were made available to the shadow cabinet so they could make an informed decision.

Labour Group leader Jim Grant (Lab, Rodbourne Cheney) said: “We are supporting the transfer of the leisure facilities with a heavy heart. These facilities have been built over time and have led to Swindon being blessed with a raft of leisure facilities to encourage residents to be active in their local communities.

“However we do accept that in the council’s current financial circumstances we have little choice but to find ways to eradicate the £1.5m leisure subsidy.

“We are opposed to the leasing of Broome Manor and Highworth Golf Courses as it will not deliver value for money for Swindon Council-taxpayers.

“And we are opposed to any leasing of Croft Playing Fields and the car park because this administration has failed to give any reassurance that access to these areas for the local community will be preserved once they are transferred to a new provider.”

However, Coun Williams (Con, Shaw) the cabinet member for leisure said it was a good deal for Swindon, and the best available.

He said: “I am pleased we have finally got the green light to proceed with the facilities transfer and we have achieved our goal of finding a sustainable future for our leisure centres and golf courses

“If we hadn’t gone down this route we would almost certainly have been faced with the difficult decision of closing some of our facilities. By leasing our centres out, we not only keep them open to the public, but ensure they receive extra investment and benefit from the considerable expertise the new operators will bring to Swindon’s leisure offer.”

 

Comments (6)

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10:16pm Thu 17 Jul 14

messyits says...

Perhaps the law should be reviewed whereby making a profit is not allowed. Perhaps then we would not be losing vital services.
Secondly--it would help if the Council finds a way to get all employees to do a full days work for a full days pay--like 3 men leaning on shovels and one actually using his. Then all 4 driving off in different vehicles.
Perhaps the law should be reviewed whereby making a profit is not allowed. Perhaps then we would not be losing vital services. Secondly--it would help if the Council finds a way to get all employees to do a full days work for a full days pay--like 3 men leaning on shovels and one actually using his. Then all 4 driving off in different vehicles. messyits
  • Score: -7

8:39am Fri 18 Jul 14

house on the hill says...

messyits wrote:
Perhaps the law should be reviewed whereby making a profit is not allowed. Perhaps then we would not be losing vital services.
Secondly--it would help if the Council finds a way to get all employees to do a full days work for a full days pay--like 3 men leaning on shovels and one actually using his. Then all 4 driving off in different vehicles.
Not sure why that attracted negative thumbs, probably from Council workers who don't like their easier life compared to the private sector exposed even though we have all witnessed it. The council wastes £millions on bad practices, dead wood managers with no new ideas or desire or drive, sicknote staff off for months on end and a general complacent "whatever" attitude in their unique non competitive monopoly that they work in with no consequences for failure or bad service as we have nowhere else to go and a guaranteed income every year from our tax.

Services will continue to be lost as they continue this wasteful way of running the town. Too many have been there too long and are so far behind the times in their working practices and ideas most of their policies are written in Latin!
[quote][p][bold]messyits[/bold] wrote: Perhaps the law should be reviewed whereby making a profit is not allowed. Perhaps then we would not be losing vital services. Secondly--it would help if the Council finds a way to get all employees to do a full days work for a full days pay--like 3 men leaning on shovels and one actually using his. Then all 4 driving off in different vehicles.[/p][/quote]Not sure why that attracted negative thumbs, probably from Council workers who don't like their easier life compared to the private sector exposed even though we have all witnessed it. The council wastes £millions on bad practices, dead wood managers with no new ideas or desire or drive, sicknote staff off for months on end and a general complacent "whatever" attitude in their unique non competitive monopoly that they work in with no consequences for failure or bad service as we have nowhere else to go and a guaranteed income every year from our tax. Services will continue to be lost as they continue this wasteful way of running the town. Too many have been there too long and are so far behind the times in their working practices and ideas most of their policies are written in Latin! house on the hill
  • Score: -1

10:00am Fri 18 Jul 14

Davey Gravey says...

To not even have up to date accounts to help make this decision is absolutely amateurish to say the least. I'd go further and say it's an utter disgrace. Yet another of the public's things tossed aside by the abominable Tories. Well done to those who at least put up a fight. Those who voted for this are a disgrace to Swindon.
To not even have up to date accounts to help make this decision is absolutely amateurish to say the least. I'd go further and say it's an utter disgrace. Yet another of the public's things tossed aside by the abominable Tories. Well done to those who at least put up a fight. Those who voted for this are a disgrace to Swindon. Davey Gravey
  • Score: -1

11:29am Fri 18 Jul 14

Sandor Clegane says...

Great news for the town. We'll now have qualified leisure facility operators running the services and it'll save the taxpayer £1.5 million every year, along with the centres receiving millions of pounds worth of much needed investment.

I really cannot understand why some people think that one or more of these facilities being closed would have been a good thing for the town. Because that's what would have happened if the council had retained the right to run them.

Very naive of the local Labour group to think they could cherry pick the profit making bits and just hive off the loss-making aspects.
Great news for the town. We'll now have qualified leisure facility operators running the services and it'll save the taxpayer £1.5 million every year, along with the centres receiving millions of pounds worth of much needed investment. I really cannot understand why some people think that one or more of these facilities being closed would have been a good thing for the town. Because that's what would have happened if the council had retained the right to run them. Very naive of the local Labour group to think they could cherry pick the profit making bits and just hive off the loss-making aspects. Sandor Clegane
  • Score: 5

7:30pm Fri 18 Jul 14

candid friend says...

How long before a Public Golf Course, open to all, becomes private and
exclusive?
How long before a Public Golf Course, open to all, becomes private and exclusive? candid friend
  • Score: 0

11:27pm Fri 18 Jul 14

messyits says...

house on the hill wrote:
messyits wrote:
Perhaps the law should be reviewed whereby making a profit is not allowed. Perhaps then we would not be losing vital services.
Secondly--it would help if the Council finds a way to get all employees to do a full days work for a full days pay--like 3 men leaning on shovels and one actually using his. Then all 4 driving off in different vehicles.
Not sure why that attracted negative thumbs, probably from Council workers who don't like their easier life compared to the private sector exposed even though we have all witnessed it. The council wastes £millions on bad practices, dead wood managers with no new ideas or desire or drive, sicknote staff off for months on end and a general complacent "whatever" attitude in their unique non competitive monopoly that they work in with no consequences for failure or bad service as we have nowhere else to go and a guaranteed income every year from our tax.

Services will continue to be lost as they continue this wasteful way of running the town. Too many have been there too long and are so far behind the times in their working practices and ideas most of their policies are written in Latin!
The whole system needs to change--including preventing councillors who come here to this site anonymously trying to sway opinion. It is wholly wrong for a councillor who sits on certain panels to divulge information gained on such panels using an alias to support their views.
As for the voting system--anyone who thinks it reflects opinion is not overly bright--it is a game they play.
Until we get councillors who will reflect the publics views and press for change--nothing will change. Meanwhile our town will continue to deteriorate.
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]messyits[/bold] wrote: Perhaps the law should be reviewed whereby making a profit is not allowed. Perhaps then we would not be losing vital services. Secondly--it would help if the Council finds a way to get all employees to do a full days work for a full days pay--like 3 men leaning on shovels and one actually using his. Then all 4 driving off in different vehicles.[/p][/quote]Not sure why that attracted negative thumbs, probably from Council workers who don't like their easier life compared to the private sector exposed even though we have all witnessed it. The council wastes £millions on bad practices, dead wood managers with no new ideas or desire or drive, sicknote staff off for months on end and a general complacent "whatever" attitude in their unique non competitive monopoly that they work in with no consequences for failure or bad service as we have nowhere else to go and a guaranteed income every year from our tax. Services will continue to be lost as they continue this wasteful way of running the town. Too many have been there too long and are so far behind the times in their working practices and ideas most of their policies are written in Latin![/p][/quote]The whole system needs to change--including preventing councillors who come here to this site anonymously trying to sway opinion. It is wholly wrong for a councillor who sits on certain panels to divulge information gained on such panels using an alias to support their views. As for the voting system--anyone who thinks it reflects opinion is not overly bright--it is a game they play. Until we get councillors who will reflect the publics views and press for change--nothing will change. Meanwhile our town will continue to deteriorate. messyits
  • Score: -4

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