May 20 2013 Latest news:
Friday, August 3, 2012
Norwich’s Riverside Leisure Centre could be run by a different company from next year, after city councillors agreed to tender for a £1.1m contract to manage the complex.
The £5.7m Wherry Road centre opened in 2003, with its 25-metre pool replacing the one the council used to run at St Augustine’s.
The council contracted out the management of the centre to Leisure Connections for 10 years, at an average cost of £85,000 a year.
But that contract comes to an end in March next year and, with £2.8m of funding for the centre coming from Sport England on the provision that the centre runs for 21 years from its opening, a new contract needs to be awarded.
A report which went before councillors stated: “Riverside Leisure Centre has been operating successfully for nine years.
“Visits are now in excess of 300,000 a year and the council has retained influence on the programming and pricing policies of the facility, which incorporate the Go4Less scheme.
“The city council now has to consider the best approach for maintaining the service and the building for the next 11 years, the remainder of our commitment to Sport England.”
The city council’s cabinet has agreed the authority should look at two options for the contract. One is to stick with the current model of paying a private company to manage it.
But the other option is for the council and a commercial operator to join forces to create a trust, which would then sub-contract the running of the centre.
The council says that approach has the potential to save money, as it would avoid the need to pay business rates and possibly VAT.
A full condition survey of the building has also been commissioned and council officers said that shows there will need to be more money pumped into the building over the next 11 years.
The Riverside Leisure Centre, which also includes a learner pool and fitness facilities, recently played a starring role in comedy show Alan Partridge: Welcome To The Places Of My Life, with Steve Coogan’s spoof broadcaster commenting on its “controversial swooped roof”.
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