The Executive Director of Corporate and Commercial Services submitted a report that sought approval for the withdrawal of Leisure Services provision at The Southlands Centre, following the removal of the facility from the scope of the leisure trust arrangement.
The report outlined that the Southlands Centre was a converted former secondary school in the Park End and Beckfield Ward from which the Council operates both Leisure Services and a business and enterprise centre housing approximately seventy small and medium sized private businesses.
In 2013 the Council's Change Programme established significant savings potential in relation to the delivery of the Council's Sport and Leisure Services.
At the start of 2013 - 2014 financial year, the net cost of Sport and Leisure Services to the Council was £2,667,000; this was excluding central support costs of £350,000 which are provided from within other Council departments.
In year savings of £153,000 were made by the service, therefore at the commencement of the 2014-2015 financial year, the net cost of these services had reduced to £2.514, 000.
Further savings of £804,000 were made by the service area during 2014-2015, with a further £430,000 planned for 2015-2016 leaving a net cost for these services of £1,280,000,
Following a unit cost based exercise during 2014-2015; an ongoing revenue budget for the delivery of these services was set at £400,000 per annum. This resulted in a budgeted savings target of £880,000 being set for these services for financial year 2016-2017 against the Sports and Leisure budget, with no further plans for budget reductions from an in-house operation.
The report provided further background information in relation to the Southlands centre and its usage, further details of which were outlined in the report.
The report outlined that there were two options available:
Option 1: Continue to operate as a leisure facility
Option 2: Withdraw leisure services from the venue
During the meeting, the Chair clarified that at paragraph 36 of the report, 'members' referred to members of the Southlands Centre.
The Chair also allowed the Councillors present to make comments on the report. The Councillors raised a number of issues including a concern about raised increases in diabetes, heart attacks and strokes as a direct result of the leisure facilities being withdrawn.
That the withdrawal of Leisure Services provision from The Southlands Centre be approved, with the exception of the 3G synthetic playing pitches, in advance of the commencement of the leisure trust contract, which comes into effect on 1st April 2016.
That delegated authority is given to the Councils Strategic Sport and Leisure Officer to enter into dialogue with the trust provider to establish as the most appropriate model for the future management of the remaining 3G synthetic playing pitches.
The decisions were supported by the following reasons:
To contribute to the delivery of the financial savings of £880,000 required from Sport and Leisure Services which are identified within the Councils Change Programme and Strategic Plan 2015-2018.
To seek alternative use for The Southlands Centre as a commercially sustainable business centre.