September 5, 2018 5.17 pm This story is over 62 months old

Plans to outsource Boston leisure centre and guildhall

Council hopes they’ll be cheaper to run this way

Plans to make £250k in savings to leisure, culture and heritage services in Boston could see the Geoff Moulder Leisure Centre and the town’s Guildhall outsourced to other companies.

Boston Borough Council already carries out similar arrangements for the Princess Royal Sports Arena (1Life) and the Peter Paine Performance Centre (Boston College).

Cabinet members were told on Wednesday that expressions of interest had been received from ‘several not for profit organisations’ and agreed to investigate the way forward.

Portfolio holder for tourism, arts, culture and heritage Councillor Claire Rylott said following the meeting that the GMLC currently costs an ‘awful lot of money a year to run’.

She added that the move could see specialist services provide the same or better standard than the authority currently operates.

She said: “It wouldn’t mean any reduction in services, a swimming pool is a service we do not have to provide as a borough council, but we want to continue providing it, so by outsourcing it we’re looking to see if we can make savings to our budget by doing that. If we can’t we’ll continue to provide that service in-house.

“If we look at companies that are just dealing in swimming and leisure they may be able to provide even a better service than what we’re providing and may have different ideas.”

Boston Guildhall. Photo: Boston Borough Council

Councillors believe the move will enable the companies which take over to have access to greater funding than the authority currently provides.

The savings form part of the council’s Transformation Programme, agreed in 2016, which is trying to plug a more than £1 million budget gap by 2020.

Councillors were told during the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, that officers have already identified approximately £50,000 of savings through reorganisation, leaving in the region of £200,000 in the tourism and leisure sector still to find.

Portfolio holder for finance Aaron Spencer said the authority would continue to invest in the facility itself, and said: “£250,000 was an ambitious target to meet, we have plans in place that we can meet that within the year and the programme is constantly evolving.

“When we first set this target in 2015 we didn’t have the money from the Controlling Migration Fund.

“Now we’re taking another look at it to see how we can do it differently because we have more money to invest in the place so maybe we can do it and meet those targets in a different way and potentially out-do them,” he added.

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