Councils Sign Agreement on Sports Centre
Two council leaders have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly shape the future of sports and leisure provision in Kidsgrove.
Cllr. Simon Tagg, the Leader of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, and County Cllr. Philip Atkins, the Leader of Staffordshire County Council, have agreed to work together to achieve a six point plan.
The MoU has been welcomed by a community group fighting to reopen Kidsgrove sports centre as it outlines how their vision for sports facilities in the town can be delivered.
The Memorandum of Understanding says Cllrs. Tagg and Atkins will strive to:-
- Reopen a leisure facility in Kidsgrove within six months which as a minimum comprises a fitness room and other dry-side leisure facilities followed by a pool if, and when, resources permit.
- Work together within a 5-10 year timeframe to provide a new leisure centre designed and funded by the Borough Council and other partners that includes a pool, fitness centre and space for fitness classes.
- Co-operate over the implementation of a community-run leisure model which would be owned, managed and run by a Community Interest Organisation (CIO).
- Ensure a CIO facility can operate without the need of revenue subsidy from either council.
- Work with the CIO to identify and secure external sources of revenue and capital funding.
- Bring together a working group to deliver the outcomes above which will involve the two councils, the CIO, the King’s CE School. This group will also look to bring in external expert advisors to support the CIO in developing its business plan.
Cllr. Tagg said: “This is a significant step forward as it shows we have now managed to get everyone who has an interest in providing sports and leisure facilities in Kidsgrove on to the same page. This agreement sets out a framework to enable us to go on and achieve this goal.”
He added: “There is obviously a lot more to do but this MoU puts the foundations in place to enable us to make progress in a coherent and co-ordinated way. I am delighted we have managed to reach agreement with the county council and I think by joining with them and the community group we can work together to move this situation forward.”
County Cllr. Philip Atkins said: “Although we are not responsible for providing leisure services, we’re happy to work with the Borough Council and the community interest organisation on a solution for Kidsgrove.
“As an authority responsible for public health, we understand how important it is that people can lead fit, healthy and active lives for as long as possible. This agreement sets out our commitment to working with the Borough Council and other partners to empower the community and secure continuing leisure provision for the people of Kidsgrove.”
Kidsgrove Sports Centre Community Group launched a fight to reopen the town’s sports centre shortly after it closed in June last year.
They have submitted a business case for running the centre and both Staffordshire County Council - who are the owners of the building – and the Borough Council are considering how that can be developed further.
Mark Clews, Chair of the group, said: “It is exceptionally pleasing that all stakeholders are going to be working together constructively for the benefit of community leisure provision in Kidsgrove and the north of the borough. Our proposal for community leisure provision has always focused on the need to work with both organisations, so it is pleasing that the new administration at the Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council are now working to make this possible.
“We are under no illusions about the challenges that lie ahead. However, we believe we have a realistic and financially sustainable proposal which is deliverable. This is only made possible if we have a constructive attitude from our fellow partners, something which this Memorandum of Understanding establishes.”
Last updated 20 February 2018