The future of the Ken Marriott Leisure Centre

I’ve been interested in the Leisure Centre since I moved up here, as it’s just round the corner, and especially since it was discussed in the Town Hall.

I was a bit busy at the end of August and start of September, and so couldn’t get to the latest meeting of the Borough Council’s ‘Ken Marriott Leisure Centre Task Group‘ on the 3rd. Now that the minutes of that meeting have been up for a while, I thought I’d see if anything new had cropped up.

The short-term future is as before. DC Leisure has a contract until March 2010, and Rugby Borough Council have already determined to extend that for another three years to allow time to explore more options.

The current situation seems to be that a recent change of management has led to improvements in responsiveness. In particular, cleanliness had been an issue and since new procedures were put in place the number of customer complaints had dropped. Free swimming for the over 60s has had a good take-up, and overall activities had seen increases in custom. This suggests that the Leisure Centre is doing better and attracting more people.

Now, to the future.

The process has already started. There has already been some work done to take a strategic overview of current needs for the town, but this has been behind the scenes with CBRE – a consultancy firm – being retained. This Stage 1 activity is going to end soon.

Stage 2 is about to go out to tender, and has two parts. Part B is ‘Options Analysis’, which will mean looking at the possible ways forward:

  • Total refurbishment of the Ken Marriott, with some new build
  • Partial refurbishment of the KMLC with some new build
  • Rebuild on the present site
  • Rebuild at a new site

These are not necessarily the only options, and they aren’t mandated either.

Part A is consultation, but this will not be full public consultation. The idea is to look at market trends and how other areas have developed their leisure facilities, and also to find ‘key stakeholders’ such as sports clubs, user groups etc and get information about what their needs and expectations are. However, this will not be a case of simply asking people what they want. It’s more likely that a set of options will be presented. Apparently this is to avoid creating ‘wish lists’.

From these two parts will come reports to the Council which will lay out the options and what kind of facilities and activities should be provided. At that point, the wider public will get a chance to see what the options are, before the Council make a decision. This is unlikely to be until the second half of 2010. Implementation is likely to be over 2011-2013, although of course a lot depends on what is decided.

Until then, I’ll keep an eye out to see what crops up.

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