Agenda item

Leisure Services: Selby interim options and countywide Strategic Leisure Review


Considered – A presentation on the interim proposals for the Selby leisure service from August 2024 and the countywide Strategic Leisure Review.


Some of the key points highlighted in the presentation are as summarised below:


·       County Councillor Simon Myers, Executive Member for Planning for Growth, introduced the item, giving an overview of the different service delivery models across the county and discussing the interim solution proposed for the Selby district, using an existing Teckal agreement already in use for the Harrogate Borough area to allow Brimhams Active to take on the service from August 2024. This is on a “without prejudice” basis.

·       Following visits around the leisure facilities in the districts and boroughs of North Yorkshire, it was clear that the county council plays a key role in improving public health through its leisure facilities to tackle issues of health and obesity. A working group will be set up to carry out a strategic review into leisure services.

·       Steven Lister, Director of Leisure and Communities from Hambleton DC, spoke about the community and grassroots sport work currently underway at a district level, with a strong local emphasis to this offer. This ‘Hub and Spoke’ model was important to find the balance between using the facilities that already exist, whilst going out into the community to provide activities in more rural settings that can be accessed by residents in surrounding villages.


There followed a discussion with the key points as summarised below:


·       Further detail was asked for about the funding solution required in 2027 when the different leisure service delivery models used across the county come to an end. This would be considered as part of the countywide strategic review process.

·       It was asked whether by using the Teckal agreement, if savings will be made on NNDR for the Selby and Harrogate areas. This would be pending the new North Yorkshire Council policy.

·       It was asked whether the fees and charges for leisure services would be equalised across the county. For example, would the offer of free entry to leisure facilities for children in care be extended across the county? In response, it was noted that fees and charges is a crucial area that needs to done right, so a sensible approach will be taken over time that doesn’t leap into any blanket decisions. 

·       Concerns were raised about how residents in rural areas will be able to access the different leisure facilities. For example, someone living in Hawes who is prescribed a form of exercise by their GP, they would face a 54-mile round trip to use the nearest leisure facilities.

·       A member welcomed the use of the Teckal arrangement for Selby, as they felt that the current leisure provider had not delivered for the district to date. The use of a subsidy from NYCC to run the leisure services was also questioned and whether it can be justified in the future. In response, County Councillor Myers suggested the subsidy could also be seen as an investment into a facility and the local area as a whole. A member compared the leisure facilities situation to the recent street lighting project, where a business case was developed and an ‘invest to save’ approach adopted to replace all the streetlights with LED technology.

·       The role of public leisure facilities up against commercial gyms was highlighted by several members. In response it was emphasised that the public use facilities play a key public health role alongside private facility provision.

·       It was noted that the leisure facilities embedded in the local community such as Starbeck Baths were greatly valued by the local communities, shown in the recent usage figures.

·       It was important for leisure services to build link with schools, in particular primary school children, to encourage participation given the statistics around lack of activity.

·       Local authorities are working to decarbonise leisure facilities, with a number of councils already undertaking improvements, with Hambleton having received a £4.7million government grant towards reducing the carbon footprint made by the council’s leisure centres, which has seen carbon emissions reduced by half.

·       The contribution of culture and arts was also highlighted as important for mental health along with leisure activities.


Resolved – To note the presentation and take onboard the comments from members ahead of the countywide strategic review of leisure facilities.

Supporting documents: