£1m set to be saved plus investment in North Somerset leisure centres

North Somerset Council looks set to approve plans which could lead to £1m savings a year and further investment in leisure centre services.

Recent investment has seen improvements at Parish Wharf Leisure Centre in Portishead and, subject to approval by the council’s Executive at a meeting next week, other centres could also benefit.

The potential investments include a brand new leisure pool and gym extension at Hutton Moor in Weston-super-Mare; further provision of artificial turf pitches; a possible extension to the gym facilities at Strode Leisure Centre in Clevedon; and, in the medium term, subject to feasibility, an amalgamation of and investment in a variety of leisure and community services at Scotch Horn Leisure Centre in Nailsea.

These changes will be made possible if councillors agree to amendments to the current arrangements in place between the council and the companies that operate North Somerset’s leisure centres on its behalf. At the moment, the main contracts in place with Parkwood Leisure, Places for People Leisure and Tone Leisure are due to come to an end in 2021 and 2017, but, by amending and extending these contracts, both the council and local taxpayers will benefit.

Currently, the council pays subsidies to its leisure centre operators to run the services on its behalf, but, subject to the approval of these new arrangements, the council will save in the region of £1m a year by largely withdrawing these subsidies and, better still, will also benefit through a surplus share if the operators are successful in exceeding agreed income targets.

Cllr Felicity Baker, executive member for leisure, said: “We provide great leisure services in North Somerset to help people stay fit and healthy and enjoy themselves, and because the facilities are good they’re increasingly popular.

“We are committed to investing in better services that are affordable, sustainable and provide the best value for money for our local taxpayers.”

Subject to the council’s Executive approving the contract variation proposals, council officers and the contract providers will then work together to bring forward more detailed proposals for leisure centre investment.

The report will be considered by the Executive at its meeting on Tuesday 12 April.