The Castle Sports Complex Swimming Pool.

Overhaul of Spalding’s ‘tatty and tired’ leisure facilities on the cards?

A total overhaul of South Holland’s ageing leisure facilities could be on the way.

A planned examination of the district council’s leisure facilities could see an overhaul of provisions to bring them up to date with modern demands.

South Holland District Council, which owns the Castle Sports Complex and Swimming Pool in Spalding and Peele Leisure Centre in Long Sutton, has brought in leisure consultants Max Associates to assist, said a council spokesman.

This partnership comes alongside the announcement that the council is inviting tenders from potential operators to manage its leisure centres.

The spokesman said: “The council is seeking to work alongside a highly-experienced operator that can demonstrate a shared commitment to council priorities which are to maintain and develop a high-quality leisure service for the residents of South Holland.

“The procurement process will run until November, when submitted tenders will be evaluated. If the bids are suitable, a preferred bidder will be selected, with a view to a five-year contract starting in February 2019.”

The facilities are currently run by national leisure management firm 1Life.

Rob Walker, Executive Director of Place at Breckland and South Holland councils, said the project will listen to demands and endeavour to move with the times.

“We’ll be looking to make some changes to the service and to make improvements.

“The long term plan is to collect the evidence and do the work needed to potentially have a bigger overhaul when that contract ends in five years time.”

Mr Walker said a “significant change” could come, based on what demand there is for leisure, “the needs of the local population and what makes sense commercially”.

Mr Walker added: “The leisure market has changed, so increasingly local authorities around the country are providing different types of activities instead of the traditional gym and sports hall model so we may consider whether that’s suitable in Spalding or Long Sutton.”

Coun Gary Taylor, Portfolio holder for Communities and Facilities at South Holland District Council, added:

“We have already approached Sport England and other national, regional and local sports governing bodies to assess need and demand in the area.”

South Holland’s current facilities have been under fire. Coun Angela Newton said she and fellow independent Coun Bryan Alcock raised their concerns of how “tired and tatty our facilities are getting” and that the offerings “need to be brought into the 21st century.”

This week, a father who wishes to remain anonymous said: “The learner pool has been closed for five weeks due to a heating failure, but due to the age of the system a part is having to be made.”

He said swimming lessons had been moved to the main pool but his child isn’t a confident swimmer so this wasn’t a suitable option.

He added: “After several conversations, some of which were unhelpful, the manager offered us a free private lesson to build confidence but the area to swim in is inadequate and the duty managers can only pass on details for complaint.”

1Life management was not available for comment.

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