£7million deal puts major sporting facilities back in hands of council

By Charlotte Stokes

News Sheffield City Trust is set to hand back some of the largest sporting facilities in Sheffield to the city council has been welcomed by members of the public.

A Sheffield Council report written by David Hollis, assistant director of legal and governance, said the council would pay Sheffield City Trust £7million to maintain the facilities, until it takes over the venues in August 2024.

The report states: “There is a long term plan for major improvements and investment, creating an exciting leisure offer that will also deliver on health and wellbeing outcomes for Sheffield and our residents.”

The news was welcomed by Joan Sleney, aged 80 and her husband Dennis, 82, who are both members of Ponds Forge Leisure Centre.

They said: “It’s very important to us because now we’re retired, keeping fit and swimming has become part of our lifestyle. And socialising is key.

“That’s why we wouldn’t mind if the tax rate went up to pay to keep this open by the council.”

Another retired member of Ponds Forge, said: “We’re lucky they have only just done this place up, it’s never been as good as this.”

Ponds Forge re-opened after Christmas after a programme of major refurbishments, including a faster flowing lazy river, an extra powerful wave machine, an upgraded baby pool and disability-friendly zone with a disabled hoist swimming pool lift. 

The centre also offers badminton and table tennis, a gym, trampolining, a cafe and a range of fitness classes.

SCT said they needed £7m between now and August 2024 to keep the

The council said £3m would come from its annual general budget.

Another £4m is set to be covered from a specific reserve that was set up in 2020 to deal with expected future costs of SCT.

Council officers said they believed the deal was “very prudent” and there would be no additional impact on the council’s finances.

 Manager of Sheffield Arena, Scott Cooper, 33 said: “Although it says it’s being passed back to the council, this will never be the case, they will be looking for a new tender to run all of the venues because we need extra funding for security, major events and catering that hasn’t been taken into account.”

The council concluded the long term financial plan should avoid any insolvencies that could have significant impact on the delivery of these services in the short to medium term.

The facilities to be handed back to control of the council are: English Institute of Sport, Ice Sheffield, City Hall, Heeley Pool and Gym, Springs Leisure centre, Concord Leisure Centre, Beauchief, Birley and Tinsley Golf Courses and Sheffield Arena.

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