Conservative-led West Lindsey District Council has revealed ambitious plans to transform and enhance leisure provision across the whole of the district.
Exciting plans include the build of a brand new dry leisure facility in Market Rasen and a large scale re-development of the current West Lindsey Leisure Centre in Gainsborough. On top of this the council has secured extra provision for an outreach service which will provide activities for residents in their community. The Council is facing tough financial challenges as it aims to balance the budget and provide services that residents can afford. Cllr. Mrs. Sheila Bibb, Conservative Chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee at the Council, said:
“Our budget has come under increasing pressure in recent years as grants from central government have reduced by £4 million since 2012. This is only going to get worse as they stop completely in 2019.
“Previously, leisure provision has cost the council a significant amount of money. Under the new arrangements - not only will the service be transformed and enhanced – but the income provided will ease the pressure on other council services.
“This dynamic partnership will provide suitable services to the community to help people lead healthy and active lives. It will include more opportunities for rehabilitation, exercise on referral and specialist equipment for different ages. I’m looking forward to seeing the results.”
The council carried out a competitive tendering process to bring together the right partnership to transform and revitalize leisure provision in the district. The Council’s Corporate Policy and Resources Committee recently made the decision, subject to call in, to award the new leisure contract to Sport and Leisure Management (SLM) who trade as Everyone Active.
Cllr. Paul Howitt-Cowan the member champion for leisure, culture and heritage at the council welcomed the news commenting:
“We are delighted to announce that SLM are to be awarded this contract and we have every confidence that this will be a huge success. We have enjoyed a successful working partnership with SLM for nine years and we are looking forward to building on this, creating more opportunities for our residents to adopt healthy lifestyles.”
Kerry O’Neill, Everyone Active’s contract manager, said:
“We already enjoy a fantastic working relationship with the council and we look forward to developing this in the future and extending and enhancing leisure provision across the district. We will continue to work with the local community to offer people improved opportunities to lead healthier, more active lifestyles.”
To transform the services £7.8 million of funding will be used to improve leisure facilities and activity across the district. This is being funded by prudential borrowing and even after taking this into account there will be a net financial benefit to the council.
- The proposed centre in Market Rasen will replace the existing offers at both De Aston Sports Centre and Caistor Sports Hall. The bespoke centre will comprise the following:
- Health and fitness facilities
- A sports hall
- A multi-use area which can accommodate group exercise classes
- 3G outdoor pitch
The council and Everyone Active will work together to minimise the impact on service users whilst the new centre is being built.
The Mayor of Market Rasen Town Council, John Matthews, said:
“Market Rasen Town Council is delighted with the decision and the confidence West Lindsey District Council has shown in Market Rasen. They have recognised the need for a facility like this to support the people of the town and surrounding area and the provision of significant financial investment can only help local employment and our local economy.”
- The refurbishment of West Lindsey Leisure Centre will take the focus from a traditional leisure facility to a health and wellbeing centre. This will include:
- Increased fitness equipment
- Special equipment for different ages
- Opportunities for rehabilitation
- Exercise on referral
Sir Edward Leigh MP welcomed the plans, although he expressed his disappointment at the lack of a swimming pool within the plans, he commented:
“I recognise the important role that sport makes to our local communities. It was such a disappointment when firm plans, ten years ago, for a new facility, at that time including a swimming pool, had to be abandoned because of the financial crisis.
“Obviously I welcome the council’s investment in a new leisure centre in Market Rasen. I think that a four court sports hall, changing facilities, a fitness suite, dance studio for exercise classes and an outdoor 3G pitch, will be a great boost for our town. However, I am very disappointed, like a number of local residents, that the council’s plans don’t include a swimming pool.
“I understand that local government has taken a significant reduction in funding from central government grants over this decade, so it may not be possible to include a swimming pool at the current time. But I think it would be folly if the new facility is not future-proofed so that a swimming pool can be developed in the future.
“I will continue to support any efforts to develop a swimming pool to serve Market Rasen and the surrounding area.”