New private operators of council-owned leisure centres revealed

Aerial view of Newbold Comyn leisure centre
Aerial view of Newbold Comyn leisure centre
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The new private operators of the district’s revamped leisure centres have been revealed by Warwick District Council this week.

Sports and Leisure Management (SLM), which trades as ‘Everyone Active’, will take over the management of the refurbished Newbold Comyn and St Nicholas Park leisure centres, as well as Abbey Fields Swimming Pool, Castle Farm Recreation Centre, Meadow Community Sports Centre and John Atkinson Sports Centre for ten years, starting from Thursday June 1.

The council’s portfolio holder for culture, Cllr Michael Coker said: “As Warwick District Council is making a huge investment in our leisure centres, we needed to find a management partner who we were confident could not only provide the best possible service and value for money, but would also bring exciting programmes to encourage participation in sport from all sectors of our community.

“Throughout the selection process, SLM have demonstrated it is the best organisation to fulfil our ambitious plans.”

The council chose SLM to run the centres after a 12-month selection process, although the centres will still be owned by the council.

Under the agreement with SLM, the council will continue to control certain prices for concession users and will honour all pre-existing bookings for a year. The current leisure centre staff employed by the council will transfer to SLM on June 1.

Dave Bibby, managing director of SLM, said: “We are delighted to be chosen by Warwick District Council to manage its leisure provision.

“We have operated sites in Stratford and the surrounding areas for the past 25 years, and have a wealth of experience in delivering state-of-the-art facilities and exciting activities to the local community.

“As the UK’s longest established leisure provider, our aim is to encourage more communities to improve their health and wellbeing by taking part in physical activity.

“This is an exciting time for sports and leisure in Warwick district, and we are confident our new partnership with the council will help us deliver this aim and offer fantastic opportunities for local people to get active.”

The £14.5 million refurbishment and improvement programmes at Newbold Comyn and St Nicholas Park Leisure Centres are still continuing.

Both centres will have unisex ‘village changing rooms’, which feature cubicles for individuals and families to get changed in. This drew objections from some people who were worried about privacy issues, but the council pressed ahead with the changes.

Newbold Comyn’s plans include a 100-station gym, two fitness studios, changing areas, a four-court sports hall, a climbing wall for youngsters called ‘Clip and Climb’ and three new multi-use rooms. The car park will also be moved to the other side of the path and will have 162 bays.

St Nicholas’ size will be increased with a two-storey extension, and a new foyer and spinning studio will be built.