Sports plans are revealed
5:30am Friday 20th June 2014 in By Mike Benke, @Michael_Benke
THE first details of the proposed leisure lease have begun to emerge, with news that the West Swindon library looks set to remain at the Link Centre.
Earlier this week it was revealed that Greenwich Leisure Ltd is set to take over the running of all the leisure facilities in Swindon, while Twigmarket will run the golf facilities.
GLL, which runs the Oasis, has taken a 25-year lease on the Croft Sports Centre, Delta Tennis Centre, the Haydon Centre, the Link Centre, Dorcan Recreation Complex and the Health Hydro.
GLL managing director Mark Sesnan said: “We are delighted to be the preferred bidder for the leisure facilities in Swindon.
“We have successfully been managing Oasis Leisure Centre, in Swindon, since January 2013, so have a good knowledge and understanding of the area.
“And we are proud to be furthering our commitment to residents, providing first class, affordable leisure and sporting facilities.
“GLL currently operates more than 140 public leisure centres across England and Wales, so our experience – coupled with our status as a ‘not for profit’ charitable social enterprise – means we have both the operational skills and community focus to enable us to successfully operate a range of facilities that are sustainable long into the future.”
As part of the lease, GLL has said it will be investing in improvements to the facilities.
Although nothing is confirmed at this stage, a few details have begun to emerge about the company, which runs the London Aquatics Centre and the Copper Box Arena.
It is understood it wants to keep the West Swindon Library at the Link Centre, although it could move up to the first floor.
But the the council is currently in the process of reviewing library coverage across the town having conducted a consultation earlier this year.
A council report also notes that GLL is intending to open discussions with Dorcan Academy as the school is heavily dependent on the nearby leisure centre, and there will be continued right of access for members of the bowls club near to the Haydon Centre.
The overall aim of the proposal, which will go before cabinet next week, is to save £1.4m in subsidies on leisure services.
Several of the sites produce a surplus each year, but overall the council was keen to push ahead to allow investment to go ahead.
Coun Keith Williams (Con, Shaw) the cabinet member for leisure services, said: “As a social enterprise GLL do not have to charge VAT, something which the council or a private company is obliged to do.
“Therefore, if something costs £6 for the customer then GLL will keep everything but the council will lose 20 per cent.
“GLL are also able to gain relief rates and, because of their size, are able to benefit from economies of scale.”
Some centres make profit
SEVERAL of the leisure and golf sites had a greater income than expenses.
Dorcan Recreation Complex made £100,000 last year and Delta Tennis Centre made £30,000.
However, overall there are some large costs which are spread across the whole portfolio and these are what make up the need for a large subsidy.
These include £700,000 in repairs and almost £400,00 in administrations costs.
There is also a £4m backlog of repairs of which the council will pay £2m and the companies taking the leases will cover the rest.
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