The Committee considered the following report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues
1.1 This report updates Members on the development and implementation of the £105m leisure assets capital programme.
2.1 The Committee is asked to note the contents of this report, including that:
· the three new leisure facilities at Lisnasharragh, Brook and Andersonstown have now opened following lockdown and continue to see strong membership numbers, as outlined in paragraph 3.1;
· the demolition of Avoniel is now complete and works have commenced on the new facility and a contractor has now been appointed for the Templemore Baths redevelopment with works due to commence in October 2020, as outlined in paragraph 3.2;
· procurement of the ICT and Business Case consultant for the new leisure facility at Girdwood is underway and will be completed by December 2020, as outlined in paragraph 3.3; and
· the proposed approach to Leisure Phase 3 for those centres not currently included in the transformation programme, as outlined in paragraph 3.4.
3.0 Main Report
3.1 The Council is currently embarking on an ambitious 10 year plan to completely transform how it delivers leisure services across the city. The Leisure Transformation Programme (LTP), which includes a £105m capital investment, is designed to ensure everyone across the city has access to modern, fit for purpose, leisure facilities and programmes. The Programme’s main objective is to enable active and healthy lifestyles for all citizens whilst also delivering on a number of the key priorities in the Belfast Agenda such as reducing life inequalities across the city, improving neighbourhoods and creating employment and opportunity. A further key objective is to ensure that each centre has its own Unique Selling Point (USP), to avoid duplication and encourage users to move across the city to access different services and programmes
3.2 Update on New Centres
Lisnasharragh and Brook have now re-opened and continue to enjoy strong membership numbers. Despite all leisure facilities experiencing a significant drop off in membership numbers over lockdown, the two centres have recovered strongly. Lisnasharragh currently has 2,950 live pre-paid members (86% of pre-lockdown figures) and Brook 1,613 (90% of pre-lockdown figures). These figures are well in excess of the UK average which shows gym memberships currently averaging around 60%-70% pre-lockdown figures.
Andersonstown- Members will recall that Andersonstown was completed in mid-March and was due to open in late March, just as the full lockdown was introduced. Following lockdown, the gym and fitness studios were opened on 10th July, with the main pool following on 6th August. Members are asked to note that the plans for the opening of the slides have been placed on hold given the new restrictions announced by the NI Executive on 13th October. Due to social distancing requirements, the splash zone has not been opened and will remain closed until current restrictions are eased to allow safe usage.
3.2 Project Updates – Next Phase (Avoniel and Templemore)
Phase 2 of the Programme is proceeding as follows:
Avoniel – the demolition of the existing buildings is now complete and work is commencing on the site clearance. It is currently envisaged that the new facility will be completed by September 2021.
Templemore – as per the previous update, the Templemore Users’ Trust formally vacated the building at the end of June. The contractor procurement process has now been completed and Heron Brothers have been awarded the contract. Responsibility for the site has now passed to the contractor and following a period of mobilisation, works are due to commence on site in late October. It is currently envisaged that the new facility will be completed by April 2022. TUT has now formally signed and returned the User Agreement, granting it priority usage of one of the pools in the new facility, and also have an agreement in place with GLL for access to Shankill Leisure Centre from this November, to continue their swimming programmes in the interim.
3.3 Girdwood Phase 2 – Following authorisation from DFC, procurement of the Integrated Consultancy Team is now underway and will be in place by the end of December. The procurement of a consultant to develop the business case in relation to the project is also underway with an appointment due by end October. Following appointment of the ICT and business case consultant, a period of consultation with key stakeholders will take place to revisit the current options for the new facility which were developed in 2016-18. Following agreement on a preferred option concept designs will be developed which will then be subject to further public consultation before final designs are produced. It is currently envisaged that work on the new facility will commence in early Spring 2022.
3.4 Phase 3 - Other leisure facilities - Ozone, Ballysillan, Whiterock, Shankill, Loughside and Belvoir
The Strategic Policy and Resources Committee agreed earlier this year that a feasibility study would be undertaken on the rest of the leisure estate which have not been part of the Leisure Transformation Programme to date (Shankill, Whiterock, Ballysillan, Ozone, Loughside and Belvoir) given the age of these facilities. A draft terms of reference for this was agreed by Committee with the next step the appointment of consultants to undertake this work.
The Committee is asked to note that Space and Place Architects have now been appointed to carry out a review of the existing leisure estate and begin to develop options for the future of these six remaining facilities.
Proposed approach – Leisure Phase 3
It is proposed that this piece of the work is broken down into three phases and follows a similar approach to the methodology undertaken for the current phase of the Leisure Programme. Members are asked to note as highlighted in the Medium Term Financial Plan which was brought to Committee last month that no capital financing has been ring-fenced for Leisure Phase 3 which is different from the current phase where the budget envelope had been agreed at the start of the programme.
· Phase A – Baseline Review - This phase will consist of a detailed review of the current leisure estate and include a detailed performance analysis of all the current facilities. This will also include identification of gaps, areas of duplication and strategic advice on likely future requirements. This Phase will also look at innovation and key emerging trends in the leisure industry that could help achieve desired strategic outcomes beyond the existing/traditional sports offer;
· Timescale – This Phase of the review will be completed by end December and an update will be brought back to Committee early next year;
· Phase B – Consultation – Following completion of phase A, Phase B will be initiated which will involve large scale consultation with Members and a wide range of key stakeholders with a view to begin the process of developing options for the remaining six centres;
· Phase C – Concept Designs - Phase C would then involve the development of concept designs as required.
3.5 Financial and Resource Implications
Financial – Current Phase - The design costs limits for each centre were agreed by Committee in April 2015, as part of the overall £105m leisure programme.
Phase 3 – No capital financing in place.
Resource - Council to act as delivery partner for Girdwood Phase II ICT engagement. To be managed through current LTP governance arrangements.
3.6 Equality or Good Relations Implications/Rural Needs Assessment
There are no direct equality implication”
The Committee adopted the recommendations.