Cost cutting needed at Fenland’s four leisure centres, says report

George Campbell at March

George Campbell at March - Credit: Archant

Management at Fenland’s four leisure centres is being reviewed as part of a council cost-cutting exercise.

Hudson Centre. Wisbech.

Hudson Centre. Wisbech. - Credit: Archant

For the next seven months the George Campbell in March, the Hudson in Wisbech, Manor Leisure in Whittlesey and New Vision at Chatteris will go under the spotlight as councillors look for ways to make savings.

Tightening the budget strings has already reduced leisure running costs from £1.076 million in 2010/11 to £597,000 in 2015/16.

Phil Hughes, head of leisure services, said; “Over the past five years the net cost of providing the service has reduced significantly.

“However, to achieve significant further reductions it is considered necessary to consider alternative options for the delivery of the service and its management arrangements.”

New Vision Fitness, Chatteris. Picture: Steve Williams.

New Vision Fitness, Chatteris. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Those carrying out the review say they have looked at other areas of the country to work out what is national best practice and have found that one third of councils manage their leisure centres in-house while two thirds have passed it over to outside management teams.

Ideas being talked about for Fenland are:

Most Read

• Private sector management.

• An existing leisure trust.

• Setting up a new local trust.

Mr Hughes said: “Any change in management options for the leisure service will be a significant decision for the council.

“In order that members are well informed regarding the process and progress the project has been split into three phases.”

From now until October councillors will be consulted.

From November to February a business case will be built to find the “best fit” option for leisure centre management.

From March to October 2017 any new model will be implemented.

A report, due to be discussed by members of Fenland District Council’s overview and scrutiny panel on Monday August 15, said any final decision would be reported to cabinet for recommendation to full council. Indoor sports are considered adequate for Fenland’s population.