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Leisure services set to be transformed for a new generation

Swansea Council is set to consider plans that will, if approved, transform city leisure centres, improve facilities and keep prices down for years to come.

Plantasia side view

Millions of pounds of investment is on the cards alongside guarantees on affordable prices and opening hours in an initiative which, if approved, would benefit generations of users.

Cabinet is due to see a report on June 21 which sets out options for the future management of the centres, attractions and the city's much-loved Plantasia attraction. 

If approved the council would enter into partnerships with leisure service providers that have a strong track record in managing local-authority owned facilities elsewhere in the UK.

Some of the key points from the report include:

  • Prices, opening hours and services protected for customers
  • Millions of pounds of investment in upgrading facilities and buildings
  • Terms, conditions and pensions for staff protected 
  • Saves the taxpayer £1m a year
  • Council oversees the partnership and retains ownership of all buildings.

The report to Cabinet is the culmination of a three-year commissioning review of council-operated leisure services. It considered the future management of the entire leisure services portfolio including the Grand Theatre, Brangwyn Hall, Plantasia, outdoor attractions and leisure centres. 

Over the course of the review there was on-going consultation with staff, unions, customers, schools and outside organisations. At key points along the way it was agreed to keep some of the services in-house.

Robert Francis-Davies, Cabinet Member for Innovation, Regeneration and Tourism, said: "Over the last three years we've been open and honest about the challenges we face and the options put before us. Every step of the way we've listened to issues raised by our staff and others and sought to address their fears.

"If Cabinet approves the recommendations there will be no closures and no job losses. Services will get a boost and our leisure centres and Plantasia will be protected so new generations of customers can benefit."

Under the proposed arrangements schools attached to leisure centres would maintain access to them unchanged and free of charge. 

The report includes a summary of the procurement process and evidence that has led to the recommendations relating to preferred partners. If the report is approved the council would impose a 'stand-still' period of 10 days, as required under EU procurement law.

After that work would commence on a transition period which would lead to the council formally beginning the partnerships in October.

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