CBC to Manage Northern Gateway Complex In-House

It looks like Colchester Borough Council is going to be in control of managing the Northern Gateway sports complex in house.

But to be clear: there will no NO R-E-T-A-I-L at Northern Gateway.

Got that?

On the table for the next CBC Cabinet meeting [pdf] on 22 November is the report:

Sport and Leisure Future Operational Model

This is about who gets to make some money out of leisure in the borough.

My pleasure, in other people’s leisure, etc.

The Cabinet report states that there has been “considerable interest” from outside commercial companies in running the Northern Gateway – whenever it gets built.

You betcha $$$$

CBC even went as far as soft testing an external management model with five different operators.

The sticking point appeared to be that the free market capitalists – the operators, not CBC – wanted all or nothing.

The Northern Gateway wasn’t enough; they wanted to manage the full portfolio of Council leisure services.

CBC has instead done what it always does – which is to play the class liberal (small l) game of a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.

The Cabinet report recommends that the Northern Gateway is managed in house – for now.

There is the projection that it will break even after five years.

Meanwhile a more mixed management is recommended for the other leisure services in the borough.

The Cabinet report addresses:

“Bringing a more commercial focus to our products and services, whilst retaining a Public Sector ethos.”

As a reminder: prices for an adult swim at Leisure World are set to rise to a rather steep £6 in the new financial year…


The report recommends that sport and leisure services remain within the Council, but operational and strategic management of the service by Colchester Commercial Holdings should be continue.

Love Me I’m a Liberal, etc.

Colchester Commercial Holdings is the commercial enterprise set up by CBC. It has five officers, all Cllr’s, natch. It took on the marketing responsibilities for Leisure World in June of this year.

There is concern in the report that the Council will be landed with a hefty £168,000 VAT bill, should the full Leisure World package be pimped out to Colchester Commercial Holdings.

This cosy set up will be reviewed in 18 months time.

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