Future of leisure under discussion

THE council is in talks with a number of companies looking to take over the running of its leisure and golf facilities.

It launched an invitation to tender for companies last year, offering 99-year leases for the whole portfolio, which includes the Broome Manor and Health Hydro.

However, the move has been likened to selling the family silver, with some saying the lease on offer is far too long and that local groups were not given an opportunity to bid.

Council leaders have said in leasing the sites they are facing up to the economic reality and if they had offered them for a shorter period of time they would not have attracted business.

But the opposition believe not enough is being done to keep them within the control of either the council or local organisations, such as parish councils, risking the possibility they could close down.

Coun Junab Ali (Lab, Central) said: “We recognise that it is important that the council saves money from the leisure subsidy budget because of the financial challenges facing the council and that bringing a private provider in to run some of Swindon’s strategic leisure facilities could be beneficial in bringing more specialist and commercial skills to generate greater income from our leisure facilities.

“However, we do not see the leasing off of Swindon’s leisure facilities for 99 years can be anything more than the effective disposal of these facilities and therefore it is not in the best interests of the town.

“We believe the leases of these facilities should be no more than 25 years and preferably less. And we also feel that community leisure facilities like the Haydon Centre and Highworth Recreation Centre should be offered to their respective parish and town councils or community groups to take over their operational management before being offered to a private leisure provider.”

But the cabinet member for leisure, Coun Keith Williams (Con, Shaw) said there were strong reasons for taking the decisions, pointing to the recently leased Oasis as an example of the positive aspects of the process.

He said: “We have taken legal advice and we were told this was the best option. If we were looking at a management contract then perhaps a shorter lease would be an option but the council would still be liable for the maintenance cost. This way the companies have the incentive to properly invest.

“If you look at the Oasis, most of the prices now are the same or cheaper than they were in 2012 when the council ran it, with only a few slightly higher in line with inflation.

“Prior to putting a tender out, we ran a soft test to gauge interest and although a few showed an interest, some wanted to change the use of the facility. We were also concerned some groups did not understand the full implication and difficulties in running the facilities, no matter how well meaning they were.”

“They become trustees, so if it goes wrong they could be left to cover the costs as the council is not in a position to bail them out. We were not prepared to do that.”

As part of the process in deciding the best company, the council is looking at the five-year business plan for the facilities as well as the amount of work they will do in the community.

Coun Williams said when a decision is made it will go before the full council and not be decided in cabinet.

Comments (33)

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8:31am Mon 10 Mar 14

house on the hill says...

It begs the question of if other companies can make money from it why cant the council? Sheer inefficiency and waste shown up yet again by a council that couldn't even make money out of a money printing business they are so inept!
It begs the question of if other companies can make money from it why cant the council? Sheer inefficiency and waste shown up yet again by a council that couldn't even make money out of a money printing business they are so inept! house on the hill
  • Score: 13

8:59am Mon 10 Mar 14

Davey Gravey says...

Typical Tories. Hopefully they will be voted out before they can give this away like they do everything else.
Typical Tories. Hopefully they will be voted out before they can give this away like they do everything else. Davey Gravey
  • Score: -8

9:05am Mon 10 Mar 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

The council should focus its efforts and resources on essential services.
I am sure the private sector will be able to manage Swindon leisure facilities at a profit, the sooner the better.
The council should focus its efforts and resources on essential services. I am sure the private sector will be able to manage Swindon leisure facilities at a profit, the sooner the better. A.Baron-Cohen
  • Score: 7

10:38am Mon 10 Mar 14

Russell Holland says...

There are two main issues here - the first is reducing the cost of the leisure subsidy and the second is the level of capital investment needed. The Council cannot afford to continue to subsidise or significantly update leisure facilities given the reduction in grant and increases in demand for services for adults/children who need social care services.

Everyday people make use of a range of private/public services the issue is the quality of the services on offer. The Council would not be in a position to invest in the proposed regional attraction for the Oasis.
There are two main issues here - the first is reducing the cost of the leisure subsidy and the second is the level of capital investment needed. The Council cannot afford to continue to subsidise or significantly update leisure facilities given the reduction in grant and increases in demand for services for adults/children who need social care services. Everyday people make use of a range of private/public services the issue is the quality of the services on offer. The Council would not be in a position to invest in the proposed regional attraction for the Oasis. Russell Holland
  • Score: 4

11:10am Mon 10 Mar 14

stratton man says...

Cllr Holland if your Government stopped giving our money away in so called aid to countries which don't need it they would be able to fund local government to provide the services we pay for.As an aside perhaps you can tell us how much interest we are paying on the 100 million pound debt you have run up in Swindon since you came to power.
Cllr Holland if your Government stopped giving our money away in so called aid to countries which don't need it they would be able to fund local government to provide the services we pay for.As an aside perhaps you can tell us how much interest we are paying on the 100 million pound debt you have run up in Swindon since you came to power. stratton man
  • Score: -2

11:58am Mon 10 Mar 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

Russell Holland wrote:
There are two main issues here - the first is reducing the cost of the leisure subsidy and the second is the level of capital investment needed. The Council cannot afford to continue to subsidise or significantly update leisure facilities given the reduction in grant and increases in demand for services for adults/children who need social care services.

Everyday people make use of a range of private/public services the issue is the quality of the services on offer. The Council would not be in a position to invest in the proposed regional attraction for the Oasis.
Maybe this council could look at innovative ways to raise capital more cheaply, in some places people are invited to participate in local bond raising programs in order to finance important local projects whilst providing a decent return on investment for the local citizens.
[quote][p][bold]Russell Holland[/bold] wrote: There are two main issues here - the first is reducing the cost of the leisure subsidy and the second is the level of capital investment needed. The Council cannot afford to continue to subsidise or significantly update leisure facilities given the reduction in grant and increases in demand for services for adults/children who need social care services. Everyday people make use of a range of private/public services the issue is the quality of the services on offer. The Council would not be in a position to invest in the proposed regional attraction for the Oasis.[/p][/quote]Maybe this council could look at innovative ways to raise capital more cheaply, in some places people are invited to participate in local bond raising programs in order to finance important local projects whilst providing a decent return on investment for the local citizens. A.Baron-Cohen
  • Score: 3

12:43pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Davey Gravey says...

Some blatant thumb fiddling going on. Sad.
Some blatant thumb fiddling going on. Sad. Davey Gravey
  • Score: -5

1:08pm Mon 10 Mar 14

swindondad says...

“The Opposition” claim that services once leased out could face closure is just plain “scaremongering”
.
Why would a private company pay for a lease and then not run the service to make a profit?
“The Opposition” claim that services once leased out could face closure is just plain “scaremongering” . Why would a private company pay for a lease and then not run the service to make a profit? swindondad
  • Score: 7

1:10pm Mon 10 Mar 14

house on the hill says...

A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
The council should focus its efforts and resources on essential services.
I am sure the private sector will be able to manage Swindon leisure facilities at a profit, the sooner the better.
But the profit will be their's and not ours as it should be! And leisure is an essential service in a town this size!
[quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: The council should focus its efforts and resources on essential services. I am sure the private sector will be able to manage Swindon leisure facilities at a profit, the sooner the better.[/p][/quote]But the profit will be their's and not ours as it should be! And leisure is an essential service in a town this size! house on the hill
  • Score: 0

2:09pm Mon 10 Mar 14

ChannelX says...

The big difference between 'the family silver' and the council's leisure venues is that family silver is generally worth something.

As it stands, the council do not have the money to invest in any of the venues and the venues themselves do not run at a worthwhile profit.

It makes nothing but sense to receive a guaranteed income from the venues and allow experience commercial operators to make the best of the venues.

Swindon's leisure provision has been woefully lacking for decades, at least now we might see some proper investment and facilities brought up to date. It cannot be anything other than a good thing for the town.

Unsurprisingly, the local Labour group have highlighted their business naivety - what private company is going to invest in a leisure venue if they know their lease is less than 25 years?
The big difference between 'the family silver' and the council's leisure venues is that family silver is generally worth something. As it stands, the council do not have the money to invest in any of the venues and the venues themselves do not run at a worthwhile profit. It makes nothing but sense to receive a guaranteed income from the venues and allow experience commercial operators to make the best of the venues. Swindon's leisure provision has been woefully lacking for decades, at least now we might see some proper investment and facilities brought up to date. It cannot be anything other than a good thing for the town. Unsurprisingly, the local Labour group have highlighted their business naivety - what private company is going to invest in a leisure venue if they know their lease is less than 25 years? ChannelX
  • Score: 2

2:23pm Mon 10 Mar 14

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

I'm assuming that currently the leisure facilities are not turning a profit of any kind. The only ways I can think of that a private investor will make profit that the council has been unable to realise:
1) Increase prices
2) Increase the number of customers without increasing overheads

The only ways I can see that they'll increase the number of customers:
1) Decrease prices
2) Invest money into expanding the business.

The money to invest in the business has to come from somewhere so it's an almost certainty that any private operator will be increasing prices to cover the investment costs. If you take borrowing costs at around 5%, plus a reasonable profit margin of 10-15%, you could easily see the cost of using these facilities go up by 10-20%.

Why does the council not just increase prices themselves to cover the cost of any improvements?
I'm assuming that currently the leisure facilities are not turning a profit of any kind. The only ways I can think of that a private investor will make profit that the council has been unable to realise: 1) Increase prices 2) Increase the number of customers without increasing overheads The only ways I can see that they'll increase the number of customers: 1) Decrease prices 2) Invest money into expanding the business. The money to invest in the business has to come from somewhere so it's an almost certainty that any private operator will be increasing prices to cover the investment costs. If you take borrowing costs at around 5%, plus a reasonable profit margin of 10-15%, you could easily see the cost of using these facilities go up by 10-20%. Why does the council not just increase prices themselves to cover the cost of any improvements? The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man
  • Score: 3

3:20pm Mon 10 Mar 14

ChannelX says...

The council can't charge more for out-dated facilities that people won't pay more to use.

With private investment, the facilities can be improved to a point where more people will be willing to pay higher prices to use them.

It's not rocket science.
The council can't charge more for out-dated facilities that people won't pay more to use. With private investment, the facilities can be improved to a point where more people will be willing to pay higher prices to use them. It's not rocket science. ChannelX
  • Score: -1

4:19pm Mon 10 Mar 14

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

ChannelX wrote:
The council can't charge more for out-dated facilities that people won't pay more to use.

With private investment, the facilities can be improved to a point where more people will be willing to pay higher prices to use them.

It's not rocket science.
But private investors can't charge more for out-dated facilities that people won't pay more to use either.

And improved facilities in no way guarantees that people are willing to pay more. If that was the case leisure businesses such as Nuffield Health, David Lloyd etc would be rolling in money. That isn't the case.
[quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: The council can't charge more for out-dated facilities that people won't pay more to use. With private investment, the facilities can be improved to a point where more people will be willing to pay higher prices to use them. It's not rocket science.[/p][/quote]But private investors can't charge more for out-dated facilities that people won't pay more to use either. And improved facilities in no way guarantees that people are willing to pay more. If that was the case leisure businesses such as Nuffield Health, David Lloyd etc would be rolling in money. That isn't the case. The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man
  • Score: 4

4:45pm Mon 10 Mar 14

trustnopolitician says...

Sounds like a "cronies" arrangement to me - If the facilities were properly managed they could make a profit to increase SBC revenues- I know because I worked in one .
Sounds like a "cronies" arrangement to me - If the facilities were properly managed they could make a profit to increase SBC revenues- I know because I worked in one . trustnopolitician
  • Score: 3

9:52pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Phantom Poster says...

Davey Gravey wrote:
Typical Tories. Hopefully they will be voted out before they can give this away like they do everything else.
Oh, who cares other than you? I can't say that I even notice the thumb scores when I read a post. It's totally irrelevant.
[quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: Typical Tories. Hopefully they will be voted out before they can give this away like they do everything else.[/p][/quote]Oh, who cares other than you? I can't say that I even notice the thumb scores when I read a post. It's totally irrelevant. Phantom Poster
  • Score: -1

9:54pm Mon 10 Mar 14

Phantom Poster says...

Phantom Poster wrote:
Davey Gravey wrote:
Typical Tories. Hopefully they will be voted out before they can give this away like they do everything else.
Oh, who cares other than you? I can't say that I even notice the thumb scores when I read a post. It's totally irrelevant.
Sorry meant to quote the Davey Gravey post:

"Some blatant thumb fiddling going on. Sad."
[quote][p][bold]Phantom Poster[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: Typical Tories. Hopefully they will be voted out before they can give this away like they do everything else.[/p][/quote]Oh, who cares other than you? I can't say that I even notice the thumb scores when I read a post. It's totally irrelevant.[/p][/quote]Sorry meant to quote the Davey Gravey post: "Some blatant thumb fiddling going on. Sad." Phantom Poster
  • Score: 0

12:50am Tue 11 Mar 14

Davey Gravey says...

Phantom Poster wrote:
Davey Gravey wrote:
Typical Tories. Hopefully they will be voted out before they can give this away like they do everything else.
Oh, who cares other than you? I can't say that I even notice the thumb scores when I read a post. It's totally irrelevant.
I don't care. But highlighting the abuse of it amuses me so I will continue to do so. I'm sure I've read comments from you regarding it previously too. Plus too are doing so again. If you don't care then don't read it or comment. Simple
[quote][p][bold]Phantom Poster[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: Typical Tories. Hopefully they will be voted out before they can give this away like they do everything else.[/p][/quote]Oh, who cares other than you? I can't say that I even notice the thumb scores when I read a post. It's totally irrelevant.[/p][/quote]I don't care. But highlighting the abuse of it amuses me so I will continue to do so. I'm sure I've read comments from you regarding it previously too. Plus too are doing so again. If you don't care then don't read it or comment. Simple Davey Gravey
  • Score: 0

8:50am Tue 11 Mar 14

ChannelX says...

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
The council can't charge more for out-dated facilities that people won't pay more to use.

With private investment, the facilities can be improved to a point where more people will be willing to pay higher prices to use them.

It's not rocket science.
But private investors can't charge more for out-dated facilities that people won't pay more to use either.

And improved facilities in no way guarantees that people are willing to pay more. If that was the case leisure businesses such as Nuffield Health, David Lloyd etc would be rolling in money. That isn't the case.
The point being that private commercial organisations have the finances and experience to upgrade facilities such that people WILL pay more to use them and/or more people will be inclined to use them.

Unlike the council (and by definition), they know what works... and if they do happen to get it wrong, it doesn't end up costing the taxpayer money and someone else comes in to give it a go.

However you look at this scenario, it makes nothing but sense - on every level - to turn the leases over to private commercial companies.

Interesting you mention David Lloyd, a company that went from being worth £182m in 1995 to £750m last year (with a further £50m of investment being implemented this year).

Nuffield Health turns over £576 million per year and employs over 11,000 per year.

Sounds like they're both doing slightly better than Swindon Council's Leisure department, no?
[quote][p][bold]The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: The council can't charge more for out-dated facilities that people won't pay more to use. With private investment, the facilities can be improved to a point where more people will be willing to pay higher prices to use them. It's not rocket science.[/p][/quote]But private investors can't charge more for out-dated facilities that people won't pay more to use either. And improved facilities in no way guarantees that people are willing to pay more. If that was the case leisure businesses such as Nuffield Health, David Lloyd etc would be rolling in money. That isn't the case.[/p][/quote]The point being that private commercial organisations have the finances and experience to upgrade facilities such that people WILL pay more to use them and/or more people will be inclined to use them. Unlike the council (and by definition), they know what works... and if they do happen to get it wrong, it doesn't end up costing the taxpayer money and someone else comes in to give it a go. However you look at this scenario, it makes nothing but sense - on every level - to turn the leases over to private commercial companies. Interesting you mention David Lloyd, a company that went from being worth £182m in 1995 to £750m last year (with a further £50m of investment being implemented this year). Nuffield Health turns over £576 million per year and employs over 11,000 per year. Sounds like they're both doing slightly better than Swindon Council's Leisure department, no? ChannelX
  • Score: -2

8:52am Tue 11 Mar 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

house on the hill wrote:
A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
The council should focus its efforts and resources on essential services.
I am sure the private sector will be able to manage Swindon leisure facilities at a profit, the sooner the better.
But the profit will be their's and not ours as it should be! And leisure is an essential service in a town this size!
The council is right to offload the costs of running these leisure facilities, the profit going to the private is irrelevant, it is not cost effective for the council to run these and it is obviously wrong to take up additional debts to finance investment in non essential services.
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: The council should focus its efforts and resources on essential services. I am sure the private sector will be able to manage Swindon leisure facilities at a profit, the sooner the better.[/p][/quote]But the profit will be their's and not ours as it should be! And leisure is an essential service in a town this size![/p][/quote]The council is right to offload the costs of running these leisure facilities, the profit going to the private is irrelevant, it is not cost effective for the council to run these and it is obviously wrong to take up additional debts to finance investment in non essential services. A.Baron-Cohen
  • Score: -2

9:24am Tue 11 Mar 14

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

ChannelX wrote:
The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
The council can't charge more for out-dated facilities that people won't pay more to use.

With private investment, the facilities can be improved to a point where more people will be willing to pay higher prices to use them.

It's not rocket science.
But private investors can't charge more for out-dated facilities that people won't pay more to use either.

And improved facilities in no way guarantees that people are willing to pay more. If that was the case leisure businesses such as Nuffield Health, David Lloyd etc would be rolling in money. That isn't the case.
The point being that private commercial organisations have the finances and experience to upgrade facilities such that people WILL pay more to use them and/or more people will be inclined to use them.

Unlike the council (and by definition), they know what works... and if they do happen to get it wrong, it doesn't end up costing the taxpayer money and someone else comes in to give it a go.

However you look at this scenario, it makes nothing but sense - on every level - to turn the leases over to private commercial companies.

Interesting you mention David Lloyd, a company that went from being worth £182m in 1995 to £750m last year (with a further £50m of investment being implemented this year).

Nuffield Health turns over £576 million per year and employs over 11,000 per year.

Sounds like they're both doing slightly better than Swindon Council's Leisure department, no?
Forget turnover for a minute, which will naturally be higher than SBC as there are more outlets. Let's have a look at the 2012 accounts.

David Lloyd is sitting on a debt mountain of £365 million, and annual losses increased in 2012 to approximately 82 million. (Source: http://www.theguardi
an.com/business/2012
/oct/09/david-lloyd-
leisure-painful-refi
nancing-debt)

Nuffield health is a little better as they have an almost guaranteed and increasing income stream from the NHS. Their net debt therefore only rose to £16million. However if you take out the cost and benefit of their public sector contracts, earnings were broadly flat. They are also a charity and therefore entitled to certain tax breaks that a purely private operator would not be entitled to. After all taxes and other fees were paid they made a surplus (profit) of a whole £4.1 million on a turnover of £644 million. (Source: http://www.nuffieldh
ealth.com/sites/defa
ult/files/inline/NH_
2012_Annual_Report_a
nd_Accounts_FINAL.pd
f )

So no, I wouldn't say either of them are doing particularly better than Swindon Council's (tiny in comparison) leisure department.
[quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: The council can't charge more for out-dated facilities that people won't pay more to use. With private investment, the facilities can be improved to a point where more people will be willing to pay higher prices to use them. It's not rocket science.[/p][/quote]But private investors can't charge more for out-dated facilities that people won't pay more to use either. And improved facilities in no way guarantees that people are willing to pay more. If that was the case leisure businesses such as Nuffield Health, David Lloyd etc would be rolling in money. That isn't the case.[/p][/quote]The point being that private commercial organisations have the finances and experience to upgrade facilities such that people WILL pay more to use them and/or more people will be inclined to use them. Unlike the council (and by definition), they know what works... and if they do happen to get it wrong, it doesn't end up costing the taxpayer money and someone else comes in to give it a go. However you look at this scenario, it makes nothing but sense - on every level - to turn the leases over to private commercial companies. Interesting you mention David Lloyd, a company that went from being worth £182m in 1995 to £750m last year (with a further £50m of investment being implemented this year). Nuffield Health turns over £576 million per year and employs over 11,000 per year. Sounds like they're both doing slightly better than Swindon Council's Leisure department, no?[/p][/quote]Forget turnover for a minute, which will naturally be higher than SBC as there are more outlets. Let's have a look at the 2012 accounts. David Lloyd is sitting on a debt mountain of £365 million, and annual losses increased in 2012 to approximately 82 million. (Source: http://www.theguardi an.com/business/2012 /oct/09/david-lloyd- leisure-painful-refi nancing-debt) Nuffield health is a little better as they have an almost guaranteed and increasing income stream from the NHS. Their net debt therefore only rose to £16million. However if you take out the cost and benefit of their public sector contracts, earnings were broadly flat. They are also a charity and therefore entitled to certain tax breaks that a purely private operator would not be entitled to. After all taxes and other fees were paid they made a surplus (profit) of a whole £4.1 million on a turnover of £644 million. (Source: http://www.nuffieldh ealth.com/sites/defa ult/files/inline/NH_ 2012_Annual_Report_a nd_Accounts_FINAL.pd f ) So no, I wouldn't say either of them are doing particularly better than Swindon Council's (tiny in comparison) leisure department. The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man
  • Score: 2

10:45am Tue 11 Mar 14

ChannelX says...

Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at.

Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable.

Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.
Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at. Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable. Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great. ChannelX
  • Score: -4

11:26am Tue 11 Mar 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

ChannelX wrote:
Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at.

Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable.

Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.
Unfortunately a lot of people do not understand simple economics, mathematics.
[quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at. Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable. Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.[/p][/quote]Unfortunately a lot of people do not understand simple economics, mathematics. A.Baron-Cohen
  • Score: -3

11:46am Tue 11 Mar 14

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

ChannelX wrote:
Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at.

Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable.

Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.
Just making the point that private investment is no guarantee of success. I couldn't find any official figures for 2013. By the way, the previous owners of David Lloyd bought it in 2007 for £925 million, and sold it for £725m with £365M in debt. Great investment huh?

The first thing the new owners of David Lloyd did was to increase prices. What do you think will happen if leisure facilities are outsourced to the private sector?

Another nice insult to the intelligence of the entire Swindon population by the way.
[quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at. Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable. Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.[/p][/quote]Just making the point that private investment is no guarantee of success. I couldn't find any official figures for 2013. By the way, the previous owners of David Lloyd bought it in 2007 for £925 million, and sold it for £725m with £365M in debt. Great investment huh? The first thing the new owners of David Lloyd did was to increase prices. What do you think will happen if leisure facilities are outsourced to the private sector? Another nice insult to the intelligence of the entire Swindon population by the way. The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man
  • Score: 3

11:48am Tue 11 Mar 14

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at.

Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable.

Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.
Unfortunately a lot of people do not understand simple economics, mathematics.
No, unfortunately you don't seem to!
[quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at. Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable. Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.[/p][/quote]Unfortunately a lot of people do not understand simple economics, mathematics.[/p][/quote]No, unfortunately you don't seem to! The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man
  • Score: 3

12:02pm Tue 11 Mar 14

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

Simple economics?

A "peak time" family membership at a gym such as David Lloyd will cost around £150 a month.

A "peak time" family membership at the council leisure facilities (which includes more activities such as ice skating/climbing, turkish baths etc), is around £114 a month.

The same is true of golf courses: a 1 year membership at the Wiltshire for instance is around £1000 per year. An equivalent Swindon golf and leisure membership is around £635, and for that you can play at at least three different courses.

The council could easily raise charges a little to reduce the subsidy on leisure facilities and provide investment funds, they have been undersold for many years.
Simple economics? A "peak time" family membership at a gym such as David Lloyd will cost around £150 a month. A "peak time" family membership at the council leisure facilities (which includes more activities such as ice skating/climbing, turkish baths etc), is around £114 a month. The same is true of golf courses: a 1 year membership at the Wiltshire for instance is around £1000 per year. An equivalent Swindon golf and leisure membership is around £635, and for that you can play at at least three different courses. The council could easily raise charges a little to reduce the subsidy on leisure facilities and provide investment funds, they have been undersold for many years. The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man
  • Score: 3

12:43pm Tue 11 Mar 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man wrote:
A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at.

Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable.

Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.
Unfortunately a lot of people do not understand simple economics, mathematics.
No, unfortunately you don't seem to!
You seem a little simple to believe that raising prices will cover the costs and necessary investment.
[quote][p][bold]The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at. Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable. Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.[/p][/quote]Unfortunately a lot of people do not understand simple economics, mathematics.[/p][/quote]No, unfortunately you don't seem to![/p][/quote]You seem a little simple to believe that raising prices will cover the costs and necessary investment. A.Baron-Cohen
  • Score: -3

12:51pm Tue 11 Mar 14

Davey Gravey says...

How about letting the public seeing how much is made-lost in the facilities above. My understanding is that broome makes a profit. No idea about the other centres though.
How about letting the public seeing how much is made-lost in the facilities above. My understanding is that broome makes a profit. No idea about the other centres though. Davey Gravey
  • Score: 0

12:57pm Tue 11 Mar 14

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man wrote:
A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at.

Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable.

Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.
Unfortunately a lot of people do not understand simple economics, mathematics.
No, unfortunately you don't seem to!
You seem a little simple to believe that raising prices will cover the costs and necessary investment.
I didn't say it would. If you read the 11th post on this thread you'll see I suggested they also need to increase customer numbers.

The issues involved are the same regardless of whether it is run by public or private sector.
[quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at. Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable. Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.[/p][/quote]Unfortunately a lot of people do not understand simple economics, mathematics.[/p][/quote]No, unfortunately you don't seem to![/p][/quote]You seem a little simple to believe that raising prices will cover the costs and necessary investment.[/p][/quote]I didn't say it would. If you read the 11th post on this thread you'll see I suggested they also need to increase customer numbers. The issues involved are the same regardless of whether it is run by public or private sector. The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man
  • Score: 2

2:08pm Tue 11 Mar 14

Always Grumpy says...

A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man wrote:
A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at.

Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable.

Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.
Unfortunately a lot of people do not understand simple economics, mathematics.
No, unfortunately you don't seem to!
You seem a little simple to believe that raising prices will cover the costs and necessary investment.
Usual abuse I see when people don't agree with you.
Haven't you got the school toilets to clean?
[quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at. Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable. Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.[/p][/quote]Unfortunately a lot of people do not understand simple economics, mathematics.[/p][/quote]No, unfortunately you don't seem to![/p][/quote]You seem a little simple to believe that raising prices will cover the costs and necessary investment.[/p][/quote]Usual abuse I see when people don't agree with you. Haven't you got the school toilets to clean? Always Grumpy
  • Score: 4

2:40pm Tue 11 Mar 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

Always Grumpy wrote:
A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man wrote:
A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at.

Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable.

Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.
Unfortunately a lot of people do not understand simple economics, mathematics.
No, unfortunately you don't seem to!
You seem a little simple to believe that raising prices will cover the costs and necessary investment.
Usual abuse I see when people don't agree with you.
Haven't you got the school toilets to clean?
No abuse there, paranoid much?
[quote][p][bold]Always Grumpy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at. Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable. Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.[/p][/quote]Unfortunately a lot of people do not understand simple economics, mathematics.[/p][/quote]No, unfortunately you don't seem to![/p][/quote]You seem a little simple to believe that raising prices will cover the costs and necessary investment.[/p][/quote]Usual abuse I see when people don't agree with you. Haven't you got the school toilets to clean?[/p][/quote]No abuse there, paranoid much? A.Baron-Cohen
  • Score: -3

2:46pm Tue 11 Mar 14

A.Baron-Cohen says...

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man wrote:
A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man wrote:
A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at.

Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable.

Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.
Unfortunately a lot of people do not understand simple economics, mathematics.
No, unfortunately you don't seem to!
You seem a little simple to believe that raising prices will cover the costs and necessary investment.
I didn't say it would. If you read the 11th post on this thread you'll see I suggested they also need to increase customer numbers.

The issues involved are the same regardless of whether it is run by public or private sector.
Actually no the issues are not the same, a public entity like the Swindon council cannot borrow to invest like a private sector investor.
When the council borrows, we pay and our children will pay too, when a private investor running our facilities borrows money, we do not have t repay the debt yet we do remain the asset's owner.
This is about cutting costs and reducing risks, but I guess for Socialists this is a step too far :-)
[quote][p][bold]The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at. Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable. Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.[/p][/quote]Unfortunately a lot of people do not understand simple economics, mathematics.[/p][/quote]No, unfortunately you don't seem to![/p][/quote]You seem a little simple to believe that raising prices will cover the costs and necessary investment.[/p][/quote]I didn't say it would. If you read the 11th post on this thread you'll see I suggested they also need to increase customer numbers. The issues involved are the same regardless of whether it is run by public or private sector.[/p][/quote]Actually no the issues are not the same, a public entity like the Swindon council cannot borrow to invest like a private sector investor. When the council borrows, we pay and our children will pay too, when a private investor running our facilities borrows money, we do not have t repay the debt yet we do remain the asset's owner. This is about cutting costs and reducing risks, but I guess for Socialists this is a step too far :-) A.Baron-Cohen
  • Score: -1

6:34pm Tue 11 Mar 14

Always Grumpy says...

A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man wrote:
A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man wrote:
A.Baron-Cohen wrote:
ChannelX wrote:
Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at.

Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable.

Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.
Unfortunately a lot of people do not understand simple economics, mathematics.
No, unfortunately you don't seem to!
You seem a little simple to believe that raising prices will cover the costs and necessary investment.
I didn't say it would. If you read the 11th post on this thread you'll see I suggested they also need to increase customer numbers.

The issues involved are the same regardless of whether it is run by public or private sector.
Actually no the issues are not the same, a public entity like the Swindon council cannot borrow to invest like a private sector investor.
When the council borrows, we pay and our children will pay too, when a private investor running our facilities borrows money, we do not have t repay the debt yet we do remain the asset's owner.
This is about cutting costs and reducing risks, but I guess for Socialists this is a step too far :-)
You haven't quite got to grips with financing have you poliprat?
Who do you think pays interest on any debt incurred by a private investor? That would be the users of any facilities then!
Too much to understand for your tiny little brain I think.
Reply tomorrow when you're back in school and taking a break from cleaning the toilets?
[quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A.Baron-Cohen[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]ChannelX[/bold] wrote: Given that Nuffield Health are a specifically non-profit organisation, I'd suggest £4 million isn't to be sniffed at. Not too sure why you're quoting figures from 2012 for David Lloyd, as they were sold in late 2013 and the new owners are investing £50m - which is just the kind of thing I've been referring to above, investment and improvements to make the organisation profitable. Still, it says much about the Swindon mindset that people would rather the council continue to rack up losses running leisure facilities that they have no money with which to invest into the ground. Sounds great.[/p][/quote]Unfortunately a lot of people do not understand simple economics, mathematics.[/p][/quote]No, unfortunately you don't seem to![/p][/quote]You seem a little simple to believe that raising prices will cover the costs and necessary investment.[/p][/quote]I didn't say it would. If you read the 11th post on this thread you'll see I suggested they also need to increase customer numbers. The issues involved are the same regardless of whether it is run by public or private sector.[/p][/quote]Actually no the issues are not the same, a public entity like the Swindon council cannot borrow to invest like a private sector investor. When the council borrows, we pay and our children will pay too, when a private investor running our facilities borrows money, we do not have t repay the debt yet we do remain the asset's owner. This is about cutting costs and reducing risks, but I guess for Socialists this is a step too far :-)[/p][/quote]You haven't quite got to grips with financing have you poliprat? Who do you think pays interest on any debt incurred by a private investor? That would be the users of any facilities then! Too much to understand for your tiny little brain I think. Reply tomorrow when you're back in school and taking a break from cleaning the toilets? Always Grumpy
  • Score: 0

4:42pm Sun 16 Mar 14

Isypisy says...

These are all heavily loss making facilities and it makes perfect sense for the Council to seek to reduce or eradicate the annual subsidy by leasing them to the private sector. Longish leases are required to attract investment in the facilities which will otherwise continue to deteriorate. What would be truly irresponsible would be to continue with the current arrangements.
These are all heavily loss making facilities and it makes perfect sense for the Council to seek to reduce or eradicate the annual subsidy by leasing them to the private sector. Longish leases are required to attract investment in the facilities which will otherwise continue to deteriorate. What would be truly irresponsible would be to continue with the current arrangements. Isypisy
  • Score: -1

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