READING Borough Council and GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited) have agreed an early break in their contract which will allow Rivermead Leisure Centre to be included in a new integrated borough-wide leisure offer for residents.
As part of the Council’s commitment to provide modern and much-improved facilities for swimmers, keep fit and sports enthusiasts in Reading – including the building of two new modern swimming pools – a Council procurement process will identify a single leisure provider to improve and operate all its indoor leisure facilities across the town.
A brand new 6-lane community pool at Palmer Park to replace the closed Arthur Hill Pool, and the long-term replacement for Central Pool – which will be located on land at Rivermead – will also form a major part of the procurement process.
Facilities at Palmer Park Stadium, Meadway Sports Centre and South Reading Leisure Centre will also be included, as will, initially, the temporary demountable pool, which opened in January 2018 to replace Central Pool in the short-term.
Today’s announcement of a mutual agreement between the Council and GLL means that, from day one of the new contract, it will include both Rivermead Leisure Centre and the new demountable pool at Rivermead. Importantly, it will also pave the way for a modern new competition pool, complete with diving provision, to be developed at the Rivermead site by the new operator.
Cllr Jo Lovelock, Leader of Reading Borough Council, said:
“The Council is fully committed to investing and delivering modern sports facilities in Reading. Our ambition was always to ensure as wide a range of leisure facilities as possible would be included in the new contract. Today’s announcement of a mutual agreement with GLL will allow us to do that. I would like to extend my thanks for GLL’s co-operation on this agreement and emphasise they remain a valued partner operating Rivermead Leisure Centre, which now incorporates the new demountable pool.
“The Council is choosing to replace ageing and expensive to run facilities with modern new sports centres, which residents will be able to use for many years to come. We plan to do that by teaming up with a single leisure provider who will operate all of Reading’s facilities.
“The procurement process will include plans to open a brand new community pool at Palmer Park, linked to existing sports facilities. It will also include plans for the long-term replacement for Central Pool on the Rivermead site, including dedicated diving provision, as well as running the interim demountable pool which opened in January. As well as the improved facilities, this will also enable the introduction of membership and customer schemes allowing access to all Council facilities, which is an option often requested by residents. ”
Jamie Coleshill, GLL Regional Director for West Region, said:
“GLL are proud to have partnered Reading Borough Council in the delivery of Rivermead Leisure Complex for the past 10 years and we share the Council’s vision for increasing activity levels to boost the wellbeing of the community. We are passionate about the wider benefits our charitable social enterprise model brings to any partnership.
“Flexibility is the key to successful partnerships, so given current financial challenges, we have agreed to an early exit from our Rivermead contract so that Rivermead can be included from the same date alongside the Council’s other leisure centres to enable an efficient process.”
The mutual agreement with GLL means that the procurement process can now begin, with the aim of the new leisure contractor commencing the management of existing facilities from the autumn of 2019.