Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

New leisure contract awarded

11 May 2018

Stevenage Leisure Limited (SLL) will be the new Leisure Management Operator for Central Bedfordshire Council’s new £20.1million Dunstable Centre, The Grove Theatre and Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre in Leighton Buzzard.

The leisure trust, who also manage the authority’s leisure centres in Flitwick, Houghton Regis, Biggleswade (Saxon Pool and Leisure) and Sandy, won the new tender for a seven-year, seven-month contract that will begin on September 1.

It will replace the temporary contract that, due to expire in August, was put in place with SLL from June 4 last year after the closure of the old Dunstable Leisure Centre and termination of the previous long-term deal.

SLL will also support the period leading up to the opening of the new Dunstable Centre, anticipated in winter 2018/2019.

SLL’s Managing Director, Ian Morton said: “I’m delighted that SLL can now help even more of the Central Bedfordshire community to achieve their cultural and sporting aspirations.”

The comprehensive redevelopment of Dunstable Leisure Centre will incorporate a brand new, state-of-the-art leisure facility, including gym and swimming pools; a relocated, new and bigger library; new crèche; new, bigger café; and flexible community space for other public and community services, such as Citizens’ Advice and adult day care.

It is expected that the investment at Dunstable Leisure Centre will deliver similar results over the contract period to those in Houghton Regis, Flitwick and Leighton Buzzard (Tiddenfoot), which have seen a combined increase of 195,239 visits from 2016/17 to 2017/18.

The new leisure management contract also reflects the recommendations of a review of The Grove Theatre, undertaken in consultation with Arts Council England last year, which sets specific targets that include developing a more strategic approach to delivering arts and cultural programmes, improved audience numbers and improved revenue streams.

National LotteryAnd, after the Council secured a £1million grant from Sport England’s Strategic Facilities Fund towards the comprehensive redevelopment of Dunstable Leisure Centre, the new contract also includes a number of key performance indicators that meet the objectives of both organisations, such as supporting public health and a positive impact on mental and physical health for residents in Dunstable.

Councillor Ian Dalgarno, Executive Member for Community Services, said: “This contract endorses the decision we made to comprehensively redevelop Dunstable Leisure Centre and secures the best value from it, as well as The Grove Theatre and Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre.

“At a time when leisure centres and libraries across the country are closing, we have invested in our estate with new and improved facilities and are seeing the fruits of those endeavours through positive outcomes. This mean our residents can generate long-term improvements in overall levels of health and wellbeing, thereby reducing the costs to society, particularly for the NHS and social care.

“And, when it opens, The Dunstable Centre will reduce running costs by bringing services together under one roof, while providing more flexible services to customers, such as improved opening hours for public services.”

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