Top leisure attractions handed over by council

PUBLISHED: 10:00 20 October 2010

The Winter Gardens, Playhouse and Weston's tourism service have been handed over to private investors

The Winter Gardens, Playhouse and Weston's tourism service have been handed over to private investors

Copyright Archant Ltd

SOME of Weston's favourite leisure attractions have been handed over to contractors in a move that will save the council almost £2million.

SOME of Weston’s favourite leisure attractions have been handed over to private investors in a move that will save the council almost £2million.

North Somerset Council voted unanimously to award Parkwood Leisure Limited the management contracts for the Winter Gardens, The Playhouse Theatre and the Tourist Information Service at its meeting on Tuesday night.

A 10-year contract has been agreed in a move that will secure the future of two of the town’s most famous attractions and its tourism service, while saving the council around £189,000 a year with the option of a further five years being added to the contract.

The council has been looking to cut its leisure costs in recent months, and also in the light of the upcoming Government austerity measures.

Parkwood, which was formed in 1995, has run the catering at the Winter Gardens since 2002, and already operates the Hutton Moor, Backwell and Scotch Horn leisure centres.

As part of the deal, the company will also plough £250,000 into upgrading the existing facilities at the Winter Gardens.

There are other facets of the deal, which council bosses say will improve the town’s tourism options on the seafront, such as refurbishing the existing Waterfront Café and the H20 Bar, and introducing a bike hire service.

While Parkwood while be responsible for the management and running of the three services, the council will still be responsible for repairs and the external maintenance of the buildings.

Staff currently working at the services will transfer to Parkwood.

The council’s leader, Nigel Ashton, welcomed the news, saying at Tuesday’s meeting: “These three services I think are vital to Weston and to North Somerset.

“In this era of economic uncertainty I am delighted that, by working in partnership with the private sector, we are able not only to secure the future of these valuable services, but also commit to significant investment in them.

“I think this shows the commitment of this administration and this council to the tourism and commerce of Weston.”

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