The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Sinking Feeling Over Leisure Facilities

03 November 2017 | Updated 01 January 1970

Leisure centres could fall into a state of disrepair and even be forced to close without urgent new investment from government, councils have warned.

The Local Government Association, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, says government will miss a chance to transform the nation’s health if it does not inject new funding into leisure infrastructure in the Autumn Budget.

It warns that the majority of council owned sports halls and swimming pools are at risk of becoming old and tired as local authorities’ budgets become increasingly squeezed, leaving them unable to afford the cost of refurbishments.

Councils are just about managing to keep leisure facilities running but in many cases, these facilities are coming to the end of their lifespan.

Latest figures show that more than 58 per cent of sports halls and 60 per cent of swimming pools are now more than 20 years old. Nearly a quarter of these have not been refurbished in 20 years.

This follows years of funding cuts to councils’ budgets, where between 2010 and 2020, local authorities will have seen reductions of £16 billion to their core government funding. The LGA says the funding gap facing councils will be £5.8 billion by the end of the decade.

Councils are currently having to plough all their existing resources into meeting the increasing demand for services such as adult and children’s social care and tackling homelessness, at the expense of investing in leisure facilities.

With many sports halls and swimming pools reaching the end of their 25 year life-cycle, the LGA says government has an opportunity in the Budget to invest new money that “breathes new life into the country’s leisure facilities and improves the health of communities.

In its Budget submission to Treasury, the LGA is calling on government to introduce a £400 million funding pot to pay for improvements. It says that this would allow councils to upgrade and renovate facilities to the standard needed.

Councils are exploring opportunities for commercial investment to develop new wellbeing centres, but this is not always suitable for certain areas, in particular those in small urban and rural locations where there are smaller populations.

The submission adds that new funding from government is needed now to avoid having to completely replace facilities, which could cost in the region of £1.5 billion further down the line.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: "No-one wants to go to a leisure centre that is old, tired and run down. Councils need to be given the resources to offer the kind of high-standard, modern facilities that the public rightly expects which in turn helps them keep fit and healthy.

“Councils are doing all they can to keep leisure centres up and running, but many are in desperate need of refurbishment.

“Government has a chance in the Autumn Budget to breathe new life into our leisure centres which saves them from falling beyond repair and forcing them to close.”

Picture: Sink or swim - council leisure facilities may need to close without investment in refurbishment and maintenance

Article written by Cathryn Ellis | Published 03 November 2017


Related Articles

Squaring It With Qube

MRI Software has acquired Qube Global Software, a UK based provider of property and facilities management Solutions. The acquisition, according to MRI, extends the...

 Read Full Article
Flies and Statistics - A Survey of Dubious Substance

If you were to take the word of a survey of just 150 real estate bods acting for companies that employ more than 250 people, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the...

 Read Full Article
Soaring Away with Outsourcing

Companies outsourcing their property and FM requirements have hit record levels across EMEA according to new data from CBRE. CBRE's EMEA Global Workplace Solutions...

 Read Full Article
Many Happy Returns?

Six years or so years after moving to Dublin to gain tax advantages, FTSE 250 insurance group Beazley is almost certain to come back to London - signalling an exodus that...

 Read Full Article
Big Move for Public Health

Chancellor George Osborne has announced a major investment in public health science with the creation of new public health laboratories in Harlow. The investment will...

 Read Full Article
Dosh and Defence - Property and Partners to Come and Go

Exactly a week ago (Friday January 30), Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced £100m of infrastructure development in new dock facilities at...

 Read Full Article
Genting Takes a Gamble on Birmingham Resorts

The £150m Resorts World Birmingham integrated leisure and entertainment complex is due to open in early 2015 and will bring a wide range of leisure and...

 Read Full Article
The Lights are On but Nobody's Home

On Sunday, Interserve was in the news for all the wrong reasons as the Daily Mail Online went to town on the Metropolitan Police for overspending on what the paper...

 Read Full Article
What to do with the Walkie Scorchy Hotspot

Since the report that the building at 20 Fenchurch Street also known as the Walkie Talkie – and now, the Walkie Scorchy – pundits have been asking what to do...

 Read Full Article
McDonalds Security Contractor In 'Remove Your Hijab' Scandal

Thursday evening, November 30, McDonalds Restaurants discovered the hard way that a relationship with a contractor - in this case, employing cheap, untrained security...

 Read Full Article