Agenda and minutes

Joint Scrutiny - Tuesday, 30th November, 2021 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - South Kesteven House, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ. View directions

No. Item


Apologies for absence

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    Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Amanda Wheeler, Councillor David Bellamy, Councillor Susan Sandall and Councillor Judy Smith.


    Councillor Ashley Baxter had been appointed as Substitute for Councillor Amanda Wheeler.


    Councillor Hilary Westropp had been appointed as Substitute for Councillor David Bellamy.


    Councillor Helen Crawford had been appointed as Substitute for Councillor Judy Smith.


    Councillor Kaffy Rice-Oxley had been appointed as Substitute for Councillor Susan Sandall.


Declarations of interest

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    Councillor Ashley Baxter declared that he had been a user of the Deepings Leisure Centre and his family continue to be members of the Deepings Swimming Club.


    Councillor Phil Dilks highlighted that the Deepings Leisure Centre was in the Council ward where he lived. He declared that he was a Parish Councillor that had an interest in the Leisure Centre and that he had been elected as a County Councillor for The Deepings East Division. Councillor Dilks also held a family membership at the Deepings Leisure Centre when it was open and had been an occasional user of the Centre for over 40 years.


    Further to a question, the Leader of the Council declared that the Conservative Group had not been ‘whipped’ in relation to this item.


    The Deputy Group Leader for the Independent Group declared that the Independent Group had also not been ‘whipped’.  


Public Speaking

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    Those Members of the public who have registered to speak will be entitled to address the meeting for up to three minutes


    Eileen Gray


    Eileen Gray made the following statement:

    “I am a resident of Market Deeping and long-term user of the Deepings Leisure Centre for over forty years.  In July when the Leisure Centre was closed, forty years of my life was taken away from me.  I have used the Centre as a member of staff, a teacher, a member and instructor of the life-saving club and many other avenues.  I am heartbroken that this has happened.  I swam for an hour a day and now have to go to Spalding to continue this.  People using this facility include an amputee, an octogenarian, a lady in remission of cancer and a carer receiving one hour respite from caring.  Why are these people being denied these facilities.  Perhaps you can tell me?”


    Jack Little


    Jack Little made the following statement:


    “I am a resident of Deeping St James and have been for the last decade and I have enjoyed the facilities throughout that time.  Sadly since 2013 there has been no dialogue and virtually zero action regarding a replacement Leisure Centre.  I am pleased that today there are positive options on the table and I would implore Councillors to select option 3 as the best investment for the future – the next 25 years.  Option 2 may seem like a nice option, costing less, however, we know that in 20 years’ time there will need to be a plan in place for a new Leisure Centre.  I have spent a lifetime in sport since the age of seven and until now as a coach, participant, competitor and member of various club committees.  It is really important that this facility is made available again as soon as humanly possible.  I see that target dates have been set, which is good.  I am also very pleased to see that the project application with the football foundation is also contained within the papers, which is direly required.  Local team players are leaving for other training facilities with floodlights.  I also note that a core part of the proposals is dependent on an agreed lease of land by schools and I do hope this is taken incredibly seriously as agreement is vital for success.”


    Peter Gray


    Peter Gray made the following statement:


    “All of the three options that have been thrown into the arena are a distraction from what is going on.  It tends to divide and conquer people as you get different views coming through.  Initially I thought that the Leisure Centre should get repaired because it is needed now.  In hindsight, I thought that maybe I was being selfish.  I am in my 75th year and use the Leisure Centre four times a week for swimming.  However, this doesn’t affect just me, there are kids within the swimming club that start to blossom and have a three year window to access the best training possible to make the most of their opportunities.  I am concerned also about the lack of disclosure from involved  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Deepings Leisure Centre pdf icon PDF 572 KB

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    Due to significant health and safety concerns, the Deepings Leisure Centre has been temporarily closed since July 2021. At an extraordinary meeting of Council on 2 September 2021, it was agreed that options to provide leisure in the Deepings area would be assessed at a joint meeting of Culture and Visitor Economy and Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Services Overview and Scrutiny Committees. It was agreed these two Committees would jointly make a recommendation on the preferred option to Cabinet, prior to consideration by Council.


    This item and the attached report provides Members with an opportunity to carryout this decision of Council. In order to facilitate discussion and debate of this item as efficiently as possible, it is proposed that consideration of the report takes place as follows:


    (a)           Presentation of the report by the Cabinet Member for Leisure and Officers


    (b)           Consideration of background information on the Deepings Leisure Centre


    (c)           Consideration of feasibility work undertaken for a new Leisure Centre


    (d)           Consideration of leasing arrangements


    (e)           Consideration of refurbishment options in respect of the existing Leisure Centre


    (f)             Consideration of the project risks and opportunities


    (g)           Consideration of the timeline


    (h)           Consideration of recommendations to Cabinet


    Exclusion of Public and Press


    Some of the appendices to the report contain information which is exempt from publication. In addition, exempt information not for publication may be disclosed as a result of considering the report at the various stages outlined at (a) to (h) above. The press and public may therefore be excluded during discussion of this agenda item under paragraphs 1 and 2 of Schedule 12A of the Local government Act 1972 (as amended) at the relevant stage of the discussion and debate.

    Additional documents:


    The Joint Scrutiny Committee considered a comprehensive report which provided Members with the background relating to The Deepings Leisure Centre and options available relating to the provision of a Leisure Centre in The Deepings.


    In presenting the report, Councillor Barry Dobson, Cabinet Member for Leisure, made the following points:


    ·       Investing in high quality leisure facilities across the District was a key part of the Council’s corporate ambition and a vital part of achieving this was good quality facilities which were sustainable and met customer expectations.

    ·       He had been the Portfolio Holder for Leisure since January last year and was personally committed to delivering on the ambitious leisure improvement plans which this Council had previously announced. As part of this, the Deepings area was prioritised for investment due to the age and condition of the existing Leisure Centre.

    ·       Over the course of the last two years, a significant amount of work had been undertaken to identify the feasibility of providing a New Leisure Centre for the Deepings area. The report documented the Council’s journey in this respect and provided information on each of the schemes considered, together with the resulting impact on the Council’s General Fund revenue budgets.

    ·       Whilst a new build for the Deepings area was once considered affordable, this was sadly no longer the case.

    ·       The Council finds itself in extremely challenging financial times. Whilst some of this was a direct result of reduced funding from Central Government, the impact of Covid-19 on the Council’s finances could not be under-estimated. This has resulted in a significant reduction in the Council’s income, and its reserves have been put under pressure as it had supported local residents, businesses and staff. The Council had to align its diminished resources for the benefit of all residents across the District.  That being said, due to the temporary closure of the existing Leisure Centre, the Deepings area was currently without any leisure provision.

    ·       Since the meeting of Full Council on 2 September a full range of building and land surveys had taken place on the existing facility, and experts had been commissioned to bring forward options for refurbishment and the associated business plans. Four options had been identified, one of which included a full remodel and refurbishment of the existing centre which would meet the evidenced need, whilst providing residents of the Deepings with a facility which had the look and feel of a new centre.

    ·       As a refurbishment of this magnitude and cost would still be a significant undertaking for the Council, any investment approved would require the Council to review its spending priorities to account for the cost of borrowing. No investment would be possible, however, without the Council gaining a legal interest in the existing building. Although there had been good progress, there was still work to do in this regard.


    The Cabinet Member for Leisure introduced David Rushton from Sports and Leisure Consultancy (SLC), who provided details of the work SLC had been undertaking with the Council. The work included the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Close of meeting

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    The Chairman closed the meeting at 17:09.