A NOT-FOR-PROFIT firm is to take over the day-to-day management of Harrow's public leisure centres in a bid to save £400,000 a year.
Social enterprise Greenwich Leisure has been appointed to run Harrow Leisure Centre in Christchurch Avenue, Wealdstone, and Hatch End Swimming Pool and Roger Bannister Sports Centre, both in Uxbridge Road, Hatch End, for two years from next month on behalf of Harrow Council.
There will be a one month transition period to smooth the hand over from current private operator Leisure Connection, which has been looking after the centres since 1997 and had run into problems in the past at the leisure centre with customer complaints, spates of thefts from lockers and cars, police closures of Byron Hall and the discovery of unacceptable levels of ammonia in the pool.
Because of its provident society status, Greenwich Leisure will be able to return a large annual dividend-style payment to the council of £400,000, a sum that is £230,000 higher than the amount Leisure Connections presently divests and £100,000 than the firm could promise in future years.
Greenwich Leisure's two-year interim deal is intended to give the authority breathing space to prepare for a longer term outsourcing contract that aims to save even more taxpayers' cash.
Councillor Thaya Idaikkadar (Labour), Harrow Council's portfolio holder for property and major contracts, said: “We were very impressed by Greenwich Leisure Ltd’s bid. We will be expecting them to drive improvement to services and to encourage more residents to take advantage of their local leisure centre.
“A team of officers has worked very hard to ensure improved quality and increased income for the council over the next two years which, in the current financial climate, will be a great result.”
We are awaiting comments from both Greenwich Leisure and Leisure Connection.