A search is set to get underway for an operator to run Lifestyles Everton Park Sports Centre, with the aim of securing a sustainable future for the site.
A report recommends an eight week consultation with users, staff, residents and businesses to gauge views on a third party taking over the day to day management of the swimming pool, gym and sports facilities.
It follows positive, informal approaches from several external organisations interested in operating the site – which was built in 1979, with the swimming pool added in 1984.
One of the city council’s key aims is to ensure that there will be continued community access to facilities, including by schools such as Notre Dame Catholic College, which use the sports centre on a weekly basis for core and additional curricular activity.
The site – which costs £540k a year to run – is one of ten indoor sport and leisure facilities operated by Liverpool City Council under the Lifestyles brand.
Consultation will start on Monday 4 December 2017 and last for 8 weeks. It will include:
- An online questionnaire will be available from Monday 4 December at www.liverpool.gov.uk/lifestyles (hard copies will be available)
- A dedicated email box for comments; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Meetings with stakeholders e.g. schools, clubs etc.
- A public meeting (date and location to be confirmed in the near future)
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “We need to find £90 million of savings over the next three years, and this means having a long, hard look at every building we operate.
“There is interest from other established organisations in regards to running Everton Park, and at a time when we have to make significant savings, it is prudent to look at what third parties think could be achieved to improve the facilities for local people.
“We have a good track record of transferring other council buildings over to partner organisations who in turn have the ability to be able to attract investment and improve facilities.
“As part of providing a sustainable, efficient and cost effective service, we have committed to investing into leisure over the next two years, but this investment cannot sustain all of the Lifestyles facilities in the long-term. By looking at different way of working with the Everton Park facility, we see this as the start of a long-term vision for the service.
“I would like to reassure people who use Everton Park that this is just the start of the process and we will be keeping them in touch with developments over the next few months.”
The city council has committed to supporting its leisure facilities until 2019 at the least, and is looking at each site to make sure the Lifestyles service is cost-effective and sustainable in the long term.
It is hoped that interviews with a shortlist of potential third parties will take place at the end of February 2018 and a final decision made at a Cabinet meeting in the March.