Council to put its leisure centres under scrutiny

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Staff reporter

LEISURE centres could be under new management from next year.

Shropshire Council is seeking bids from leisure service providers on the open market to run Shrewsbury Sports Village and Indoor Bowls Hall and the Quarry Swimming and Fitness Centre.

New management arrangements could be in place by July 2012.

The council commissioned Strategic Leisure to undertake a review of its delivery options, which suggested a series of short term and medium term cost-saving measures.

Cllr Steve Charmley, cabinet member for health and well-being, said: “We are extremely passionate about providing excellent culture and leisure services to our residents and this review offers us a great opportunity to explore bold new approaches to future delivery.

“In this current financial climate it is more important than ever that culture and leisure services are fit for the future – tailored to people’s changing needs, while continuing to provide excellent value for money.

“It is just one part of a wider approach to transforming public services, which will see businesses, social enterprises, and voluntary and community groups taking over the running of some services and facilities in Shropshire’s local communities, over the next few years.”

Key savings have already been made by introducing the BeActive Membership Scheme, introducing a new management structure, reviewing the operation of the Grange Sports Centre, Shrewsbury, and investing in energy-saving measures.

Further discussions will take place about the future delivery of joint use leisure facilities, considering alternative management arrangements for arts, heritage and libraries once the leisure management contract is awarded.

See full story in the Leader

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