£2.4 million For Portsmouth's Leisure Centres

17 December 2016, 09:28 | Updated: 17 December 2016, 10:26

Plans Approved For £2.4 million worth of improvement works for Portsmouth's Leisure Centres.

Exciting new plans to reinvigorate Portsmouth's leisure facilities have been approved at the city's full council meeting.

Cultural trust BH Live was recently awarded a contract to manage six venues in the city from 1 February 2017, and the council has now agreed to use its borrowing powers to enable the operator to fund £2.4m of investment in the facilities which will be repaid over the contract term via the management fee to the council.

The contract will see BH Live run the Mountbatten Leisure Centre, Portsmouth Gymnastics Centre, Portsmouth Tennis Centre, Eastney Swimming Pool, Wimbledon Park Sports Centre and Charter Community Sports Centre, for 10 years and the loan would be repaid by BH Live during this time.

Cllr Symes, Portsmouth City Council's Cabinet Member for Culture Leisure & Sport, said: "I'm delighted this has been agreed and we are now in a strong position to really reinvigorate the six centres involved and take them forward with BH Live. This marks a new approach in the way council facilities are operated, previously it has cost us to run sites but from now on we will be in a partnership that will make the council money we can use to protect other services.

"The significant investment plans will see some big improvements made to the facilities on offer that should inspire more residents to get active."

BH Live already works with the council managing Pyramids in Southsea, one of the region's largest leisure and event venues. Since 2013, the trust has invested in Pyramid's facilities and significantly increased activity participation and improved event programming.

The trust has pledged to broaden the appeal of the six additional venues to make them accessible to all and encourage more people to get more active.

This will include improving facilities at the sites such as new children's soft play and interactive activities, a Terrace Café and a refurbished reception area at Mountbatten Leisure Centre.

The change in management will mean significant savings for the council as it will no longer have to subsidise the facilities.

The money loaned to BH Live by the council is in addition to more than £1 million investment the trust has committed to improve the venues and create new and exciting facilities and activities under its BH Live Active, Events and Hospitality brands.

BH Live will also look at the programming of events across the venues to maximise on sporting and cultural attendance and generating business tourism.