The UK Leisure Framework has facilitated the investment of millions of pounds into public sector sports and leisure facilities in its first year.
Launched by the County Council in February 2017, with Alliance Leisure as leisure development partner, the framework aims to help public sector bodies transform their leisure offer with successful and sustainable facilities.
“The focus on developing the right business solution, rather than just the buildings, provides much more opportunity for innovation, as well as providing confidence that completed projects will be popular with the public and achieve their income targets,” says Jamie Groves, Head of Facilities, Assets & Housing at Denbighshire County Council.
In the first 12 months of the framework, developments with an estimated value of £27m have been signed. Five leisure projects have completed with another six developments currently on site.
The framework was borne out of the success of Denbighshire County Council’s first partnership with Alliance Leisure, which saw the investment of nearly £10m in upgrading facilities after years of under investment. Now it is helping other local authorities do the same by removing the burdens of public procurement.
According to research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), the UK public sector procurement process is the most expensive in the EU with some of the longest public sector purchasing processes, which can make the business of developing leisure facilities both costly and time-consuming. The UK Leisure Framework looks to reduce the procurement process significantly and ensure projects are delivered on time and on budget.
“By focusing on reducing costs and improving efficiencies for both the client and the contractor, the UK Leisure Framework ensures a larger percentage of the client’s overall budget is allocated to the development project, rather than the procurement process. This allows local authorities to progress developments that almost certainly would have proved prohibitively expensive under traditional public procurement procedures,” says Sarah Watts, CEO of Alliance Leisure.
Projects signed under the framework in the last 12 months include SC2, a £14.8m new leisure complex offering a 13,000sq ft leisure pool with flumes, slides and water play features, a TAG active adventure zone, changing village and café and bar area expected to draw over 35,000 extra visitors per year to the area. Other projects include a £7.4m scheme to refurbish and extend Monmouth Leisure Centre, the refurbishment of Rhyl Leisure Centre, new 3G pitches at St Asaph Leisure Centre and the extension and refurbishment of hospitality facilities at Stadiwm Zip World. In the last two months two further projects have commenced on site: a £2.4m investment by Cheltenham Borough Council in partnership with The Cheltenham Trust and a £1.4m health and fitness development with Flintshire County Council in partnership with Aura Trust.