Funding cut prompts review of leisure centres

PUBLISHED: 09:30 24 June 2014

North Somerset Council is looking to invest more money to maximise return.

North Somerset Council is looking to invest more money to maximise return.

Archant

LEISURE centres in North Somerset are going to come under scrutiny as the council looks to cut more money from its budget.

About £1.2million is put into sports complexes every year by North Somerset Council, but with increasing funding cuts from central Government to come, that figure needs to be reduced.

The authority’s executive committee confirmed on Tuesday that a cost-cutting review would be carried out analysing the strengths and weaknesses of seven North Somerset centres, including Hutton Moor and Hans Price in Weston, and Churchill.

Although the aim is to reduce the overall expenditure, a council spokesman said it was looking to ‘safeguard’ services rather than close leisure centres and it plans to increase revenue streams to cover its costs, rather than slash services.

The centres are currently operated by not-for-profit contractors, such as Parkwood Leisure, on behalf of the council. In return, they receive a management fee from the council, and the authority gets a small percentage of some income streams.

Extra investment and carrying out improvements to provide more of the most popular services should increase revenue, according to the council, reducing the size of the subsidies it gives the contractors.

With a further £22million to be found to meet Government cuts over the next four years, a review will take place in the coming months to discover which areas each sport centre excels in, with the aim of maximising income in those areas.

A council spokesman said the decision should ‘protect valued services such as swimming, badminton, football, children’s activities, sports coaching and health-related referrals such as cardiac rehabilitation’.

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