October 24th, 2016

Rethink over £12million district leisure centre revamp

PLANS to spend £12million revamping leisure centres in Warwick and Leamington are set for a rethink.

Warwick District Council’s Executive last month gave the green-light for the investment at the centres in Warwick’s St Nicholas Park and at Newbold Comyn in Leamington.

But the decision to bring in an outside contractor to run them – rather than operating them in-house – prompted an outcry, and led Labour councillors to launch a petition which has since gain nearly 2,000 signatures.

And this week the council’s overview and scrutiny committee referred the decision back to the Executive for reconsideration next month.

District Labour group leader Coun John Barrott said:”People have been asking us why the council would invest money in refurbishing the centres only to let a private contractor run them especially when the current team managing the centres are performing so well.

“We feel the in-house team should be given the opportunity to continue. Why should the profits from this exciting new investment be allowed to flow out of the district?

“The Labour group hope the Executive will take on board the new information as well as consider the views of many residents when the decision comes before them again in January.”

Andrew Mobbs, leader of the Conservative run authority, told the Observer the decision to bring in outside management had not been taken lightly.

He said while the in-house team had delivered a “professional and well-respected” service over the past 30 years, current financial pressures meant the council had to look at other options.

The planned refurbishment and improvement programme will include the creation of new health and fitness and changing facilities, upgraded reception areas in both centres, and a new four court sports hall at Newbold Comyn.