Email: parish@southwater-pc.gov.uk Tel: 01403 733202

Southwater Leisure Centre Gym

Southwater Parish Council are aware of the recent comments that have been placed on the face-book site in reference to the announcement that Southwater Parish Council have made to their Staff and Gym Members and Class tutors in regards to a Council decision to close the Gym at the Leisure Centre on October 31st 2019.

It was important, legally correct and fair that the Staff immediately affected by such a decision were informed first and on the same day if possible, all gym members and class tutors affected were also informed, prior to putting out any official statement on social media, I am sure you all understand this.

It is not a decision that the Parish Council have come to lightly, there has been many discussions and deliberations on the Leisure Centre over the last few years, whilst recognising that change needed to happen due to continued financial losses, the Parish Council explored as many other options as possible first.  In a village with a population over 12,000, it is disappointing that despite many incentives run by staff to try and attract new Gym members, membership has been falling continuously, competition from other new and existing Gyms within the area attracting many within the village to their membership and therefore at the Leisure Centre currently, the gym has 160 direct debit members who use the gym, (a limited volume of members only, attend classes and do not use the gym).  The cost of staffing the opening hours and maintenance and upkeep of the gym equipment is not sustainable against the income generated by the limited membership numbers, and contributes significantly to the increasing Leisure Centre deficit.

I am sure you can understand that it is not possible to continue to offer such a facility because of all the costs associated with running it, expenditure far exceeding any income. 

To be more specific, since the start of this financial year (2019/2020), the Leisure Centre’s expenditure has continued to exceed the revenue that it generates, resulting in an accumulation of deficits.  For the last financial year, the Council incurred losses of £148,000, with an expected £95,000 budget deficit on the Leisure Centre this year, which has resulted in an immediate requirement to reduce expenditure.

In addition, usage statistics have highlighted that there are periods where there is little use of the facilities, in particular on bank holidays and during the Christmas period, but also prior to 9:00am and after 9:00pm Monday to Friday. The extended hours of opening have created challenges with shift cover and financial analysis of revenue versus cost has indicated that opening hours should better reflect usage in order to be cost effective.

As a result of these challenges, the Council has identified an urgent need to review the way in which the leisure centre is run, with a view to achieving the required cost savings needed if it is to continue to offer a service of any kind in the future.  

Based on the business requirements, the Council have determined the need to;

  1. Cease to operate a gym in the leisure centre building, instead focussing on hiring out or licencing space in the leisure centre building on a self-serve basis, therefore requiring significantly reduced staffing from the council
  2. Reduce the opening hours during the week (Monday to Friday) from 6am to 10pm as it is currently, to 9am to 8pm
  3. Maintain the current weekend opening times of 9am to 6pm
  4. Close the centre on all Bank Holidays; all days the Parish Council Offices are closed over Christmas period (except weekends) and on New Year’s Eve, as there is limited usage on these days to warrant the cost of maintaining the facility and to reduce issues previously arising out of staffing such days.
  5. The Council is still reviewing the long term operation of the Leisure Centre as agreed at previous Parish Council meetings.

Dawn Spouge

Clerk

Southwater Parish Council

Telephone – 01403 733202

www.southwater-pc.gov.uk

 

Southwater Leisure Centre

The Centre also has a selection of rooms available for hire. 

Hall booking enquiries: email: bookings@southwater-pc.gov.uk or call: 01403 733202