Senior Managers' Update
Dover Leisure Centre opened in February 2019, replacing the existing leisure centre. Early signs are that this facility has been extremely well received by the local community with usage and membership rates much higher than anticipated, long may it continue!
The new Andover Leisure Centre opened in April 2019, as part of the Test Valley contract replacing the old facility at the same location. Designed and built by Places Leisure (in partnership with our consortium team), this is a fabulous facility and again early feedback is very encouraging.
The planning application for the new £22m facility in Surrey Heath commenced in May 2019 with construction work planned to commence later in the year. The new centre has been designed to provide borough wide appeal and encapsulates a facility mix to engage all sectors of the community. Illustrated here is an artist's impression of the new leisure centre in Surrey Heath (subject to planning).
Forthcoming opportunities exist at Rushmoor (where we are the incumbent operator) with the Council currently considering which procurement route to take ahead of a tender exercise. West Lancashire Council are considering two Design Build Operate Maintain (DBOM) schemes, whilst Ashfield are considering a single site DBOM scheme. Best value contract opportunities are coming to the market for both Exeter and Chorley later in the year.
We are naturally very disappointed to have not been re-awarded the North Norfolk and High Peak contracts which both ended on 31st March 2019. We had an excellent relationship with both authorities but unfortunately lost both contracts on price. We wish all colleagues who have transferred to the new operators in the respective contract every success in the future.
There is strong evidence to suggest the leisure market has overheated in the last few years, fuelled by unrealistic affordability targets by local authorities and large management fee payments by leisure operators. We have seen many operators in ‘survival mode’, with the tendering market only generally consisting of two to three bidders per contract opportunity. Our strategy is clear, we will only bid on contracts with fair and equitable commercial terms that provide sustainable and realistic growth. This may mean our success rate in being awarded new contracts reduces in the short term, but it is our firm belief there needs to be a re-alignment of management fees/risks sharing with local authority partners. We remain committed to business growth but only in a sustainable way that helps us further our cause and create even more active places and healthy people.
Finally, we would like to thank all the colleagues who have played a part in opening the recent new facilities and assisted business development on wider tasks; your dedication and commitment is greatly appreciated.
Dover District Leisure Centre
Andover Leisure Centre