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Council takes decision on leisure financing

Councillors have voted no to allocating part of the our budget to fund the management of leisure services at Catmose Sports Centre.

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Fitness equipment in the Catmose Sports Centre gym
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Fitness equipment in the Catmose Sports Centre gym

Rutland County Councillors have voted against reallocating part of the Council’s budget to fund the management of leisure services at Catmose Sports Centre in Oakham.

The Council’s latest budget and medium-term financial plan were originally approved by Councillors in February and had assumed that any future Catmose Sports Centre contract would continue to operate at net nil cost to the Council.

A report on the Catmose Sports Centre leisure contract was presented to Full Council on 25 March, requiring a decision to either award or not award a new contract. Councillors did not reach a final decision on the leisure contract in March but did ask Cabinet to consider options for leisure financing, with no nil cost option available.

Acting on the direction of Council, Cabinet revisited the budget that was approved in February and identified options that – if approved by Councillors – would have taken money earmarked for increased flood management capacity and a Climate Change Officer and reallocated this funding to the management of Catmose Sports Centre instead. No alternative proposals to fund the management of Catmose Sports Centre from other areas of the Council’s budget were brought forwards by Councillors.

“The question of whether to award a new contract for the management of Catmose Sports Centre has become a much broader question about the most effective and appropriate use of public money at a time when we are already spending beyond our means. Following two separate procurement exercises, it’s clear there is no way to award a new leisure contract without incurring considerable costs to the Council and local taxpayers for at least the next 10 years. Ultimately, Councillors have taken the decision not to subsidise local leisure provision in Oakham, in favour of retaining funding for additional flood management capacity and a dedicated Climate Change Officer post that will support the County as a whole. This was not an easy decision.”

Council Leader Gale Waller 

Following the decision not to redirect funding to the leisure contract, Rutland County Council will take steps to notify bidders who have taken part in the leisure procurement, as well as entering discussions with Catmose College, as the owners of the Catmose Sports Centre building, and Stevenage Leisure Limited, as the current contract holder.

The agenda and reports for Special Council on Thursday 18 April 2024 can be read on our meetings page

Minutes from the meeting will be published within 10 days of the meeting date.
 

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