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Fulwood and West View leisure centre sell off – everything you need to know

Posted on - 13th January, 2017 - 6:00am | Author - | Posted in - Business, Cadley, Fishwick, Fulwood, News, Politics, Preston Council, St Matthews
West View Leisure Centre

West View Leisure Centre

Fulwood and West View Leisure Centres will see big changes with confirmation they are no longer council run.

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Preston City Council has agreed a deal to transfer its entire leisure services to Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL).

The city council says the deal will save the taxpayer around £1million-a-year that it currently uses to subsidise the leisure centres.

Here’s everything you need to know about the deal:

When does it kick in?

GLL starts running the two leisure centres from 1 April 2017

What happens to the staff?

We have been told there are no redundancies and the 288 staff (made up of 87 permanent, 193 casual and eight fixed term contracts) are re-employed by GLL under TUPE

What is TUPE?

It means the terms and working conditions of the former council staff have to be respected for a period of time by their new employer, and protects rights like pensions.

What about my gym membership, is it still valid?

Any existing gym, swimming or other leisure memberships or passes that last beyond April are valid through until their expiry

Are prices likely to rise?

swimming

GLL operates leisure centres in Manchester and lists a gym and swim monthly adult membership as £18.99-per-month, with no joining fee. It then has more premium options going up to a Better HF Plus Health Suite which is £28-per-month. Buying an annual pass gives a discount, with a Better Gym and Swim costing £170.91 for a year. For juniors it is £11.60-per-month for a basic package.

The current price of a membership at Fulwood and West View Leisure centre is £32-per-month for 25-59 age groups, £22-per-month for 18-24, £20-per-month for 60+ years and £17-per-month for 12 to 17 years. This gives access to the gym, swimming pools, climbing wall, and all fitness classes.

A single trip to the gym at the current council-run centres is £6.40 for an adult and a swim is £3.90 for an adult.

GLL’s single visit prices in Manchester suggest Prestonians could see a fall in the cost of visiting the gym. An adult gym session is £4.90 while a single adult swim is £2.50. All fitness classes are £3.90.

What happens to the Passport to Leisure scheme?

This allows people on benefits to visit leisure centres and pay a reduced price. It also applies to residents aged 60 or over, those with disabilities and foster children.

The city council says GLL have agreed to honour the scheme for at least a year and the company has a number of similar schemes it operates which would then come into use. Or the council may continue to fund it.

How many people use the leisure centres?

The climbing wall at West View

The climbing wall at West View

During the 2015-2016 financial year there were 458,242 visits to Fulwood Leisure Centre and 434,451 to West View Leisure Centre.

What about the agreement the council signed with Fulwood Academy about the car park?

In September 2013 the city council struck a five-year deal with Fulwood Academy allowing leisure centre users to access the car park and sports hall at the school.

A council spokeswoman said: “Despite our intentions, the working agreement between ourselves and Fulwood Academy was never formalised through contract due to extenuating circumstances. Instead, it has proceeded in a mutually beneficial manner and we anticipate that the same shall continue with GLL.”

Apart from the leisure centres, does ‘leisure services’ mean anything else?

Yes, the city council has a sports development team who run things like the summer ParkIt events for youngsters across the city.

Park It taking place last year

Park It taking place last year

This team also transfers to GLL and the city council says events like ParkIt are to continue for the foreseeable future.

How long does the deal last for?

GLL have taken a 125-year lease on the leisure centres

Do they have to keep both leisure centres open?

Yes, it’s in the terms of the agreement

And both swimming pools?

Yes

Fulwood leisure centre's swimming pool

Fulwood leisure centre’s swimming pool

Will the names of the leisure centres change?

At the moment it’s business as usual, but elsewhere GLL have changed the names of leisure centres. For example the leisure centre in Rugby was renamed around the Queen’s Jubilee. And other leisure centres take on names of famous athletes from the local area. Freddie Flintoff leisure centre anyone?

You say they are spending £2m on the leisure centres, what on?

We haven’t had the full details, but there are major structural works and other maintenance needed on the swimming pools in particular which hasn’t been done yet by the council. It’ll be more than a lick of paint but we’re told £2m, with £1m for each leisure centre, won’t go very far if you’re expecting all-singing all-dancing changes.

Is this definitely happening?

Yes, the city council’s cabinet agreed the decision on Wednesday (11 January) and there’s now five days where another councillor may ‘call-in’ the decision. If no call-in is made then the decision stands and the deal will progress, subject to contract signing by both parties.

Do you use the swimming pools? What do you think about the change? Let us know in the comments below

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