Leisure centre contract in Brighton and Hove up for review

King Alfred Leisure Centre, Hove
King Alfred Leisure Centre, Hove

The city’s leisure centres could be taken out of the hands of Freedom Leisure because the council fears it will end up losing money if the contract is renewed.

The not-for-profit leisure trust has the option to ask to extend the contract for up to five years once the current one expires on March 31 2021.

But a report going before the council’s tourism, development and culture committee says Freedom Leisure has not reached its predicted financial targets during the course of the current contract.

As a result this would put more financial pressure on the city council if the current contract was extended.

Councillors are asked to commission an options appraisal of different options for managing the city’s leisure centres – and also a report into what investment the seven sports halls, three swimming pools and four paddling pools require.

The investment plan would include condition surveys and cost analysis of the city’s sports facilities. A total of £190,000 is recommended to be allocated to producing both plans.

Other local authorities in Sussex have continued to develop sports facilities over the last 20 years, such as Splashpoint in Worthing and K2 in Crawley.

But in Brighton and Hove, only Withdean Sports Complex has had an extension in recent years.

Other work has included replacing the track at Withdean as well as improvements to the gym and changing rooms at the King Alfred, an all-weather pitch at Stanley Deason and roof and changing room renovations at St Luke’s Community Swimming Pool.

The report highlights the need for new sports facilities in the city as St Luke’s pool is more than 115 years old and the King Alfred opened in 1938.

It said: “The delivery of a new, large multi-purpose facility remains a priority.

“This is necessary to ensure the provision in Brighton and Hove is comparable with neighbouring authorities and meets the needs and expectations of residents.

“It is proposed that such a facility will be delivered by the new King Alfred Leisure Centre.

“However, even if a new King Alfred is achieved, there will still be a need to improve the portfolio of other sports facilities that are included within the Sports Facilities Contract.”

Redevelopment of the King Alfred complex is currently on hold until there is a decision on Brexit.

The tourism, development and culture committee meets in public at Hove Town Hall from 4pm on Thursday June 20.