Council to consider ending Freedom Leisure contract

King Alfred Leisure Centre – Picture courtesy of Wikiwand

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 20 June.

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    There was meant to be a decision on the King Alfred at the end of March. And many times before that.

  2. Rolivan Reply

    What has Brexit got to do with the redevelopment of the King Alfred,unless E.U funding was to become available.

    • Bobbo Reply


      Pretty much everybody (Which magazine/Financial Times/BBC/Charcol Mortgage Brokers/The Guardian/Royal Institue of Chartered Surveyors/the Government (office for budget responsibility), and financial/property experts, apart from Leavers of course) has predicted that “house prices will fall by as much as 35%” (Mark Carney Governer Bank of England 09/2018), house prices in London and the South East HAVE FALLEN already for the first time since 2012 this year already, and are “likely to keep falling for the the whole of 2019” (The Guardian 11/4/2019).

      This shows what is actually predicted/happening:

      “As you can see, the rate of house price growth plummeted in the year after the referendum everywhere in the UK except Scotland.

      The rate of growth dropped in every UK nation between June last year and March 2019, with England putting in the weakest performance at just 1.12%”

      June 2016 year on year Price INCREASE in England was 8.84%
      March 2019 England 1.12%… And now dropping!

      There will be NO EU FUNDING from the European Investment bank as we won’t be in the EU!

      Additionally, ANY imported construction materials (like Steel) are now on average cerca 15% more expensive due to the drop in the GBP exchange rates, a simple undeniable FACT!

      Lower house prices therefore change the viability of ANY building project, as all companies work on a 15% or so profit margin, they won’t build it for nothing especially when they can do projects in other countries with higher yields.

      So yes, Brexit has everything to do with the construction of the King Alfred.

      The prediction by the OBR is no growth in house prices till mid 2020 at least.

      • Valerie Reply

        I really welcome this comment. The global financial meltdown got patched but the deep structural truths of need remain to be sorted and the shifting tides of global fortune do not favour us right now. The tides of change are savage.

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