Venue: ZOOM MEETING - Virtual Meeting. View directions
Contact: Kimberly Soane Democratic Services Officer
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTES
To receive apologies for absence and note any substitutions.
Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs George Wilson and Val Henry.
DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS
To receive from Members declarations of interests in relation to any items included on the agenda for this meeting, in accordance with Waverley’s Code of Local Government Conduct.
There were no declarations of interests in connection with items on the agenda.
On 3 March 2020, the Executive approved the recommendation set out in the report “Leisure Centre Investment, Farnham”. The report (attached at Annexe 1) provided an update on the previously agreed capital scheme to extend Farnham Leisure Centre and expand the facilities. Specifically, the report recommended changes to the proposed facilities, to be met from the approved budget, namely extended adventure (soft) play, larger café and seating, new energy efficiencies and closure of the crèche.
On 9 March 2020, a call in of that decision was received from Cllrs Kevin Deanus, John Robini and Jenny Else, of the Community Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Their reasons for calling in the decision are detailed in the call in form (Annexe 2). The Monitoring Officer has confirmed that this is a valid call-in under the Overview & Scrutiny Procedure Rules.
That, having considered the call in, the Committee agrees to one of the following options:
1. To resolve not to refer the decision back to the Executive;
2. To resolve not to refer the decision back to the Executive but nevertheless to make such recommendations to the Executive as it sees fit;
3. To resolve to refer the decision to the Executive for reconsideration with a written explanation setting out the nature of the committee’s concerns;
4. To resolve to refer the matter to Full Council if it is felt that the decision is contrary to the Council’s Budget and Policy Framework.
The Chairman, Cllr Kevin Deanus, outlined the reasons for the call in. The date of the Community Wellbeing O&S had been such that the decision around the Leisure Centre Investment had been unable to be scrutinised before going to Executive. It had therefore been the only option to call-in the decision.
The members who had called the item in were not calling it in due to the decision made but felt that the process carried out had not been sufficient and that the documents presented had been insufficient for the executive to allow the decision to be made effectively.
He emphasised that although it had been some time since the call-in had been made there was no criticism of officers as the current pandemic and resources available had slowed the procedure down.
Cllr Liz Townsend, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Leisure and Dunsfold Park gave a brief introduction explaining that she had not been in post when the intial decision had been made but was fully informed of the process followed. She emphasised that the relationship between Places for People (PfP) and Waverley was a successful and profitable one and that Waverley relied upon PfP’s vast knowledge of the industry when looking at leisure within the borough.
Kelvin Mills, Head of Commercial Service, gave a short presentation of the key points presented to the Executive prior to their decision and also updated the committee on the current position regarding the investment.
The committee were advised that in July 2018 the Council approved £3.22m to improve Farnham and Godalming Leisure centres. The improvements proposed were based upon indoor leisure facilities.
Initially a climbing wall was proposed for Farnham, but following consultation with the preferred company ‘Click & Climb’ it had been suggested this would not be feasible as the number of climbing walls in neighbouring areas would mean the offer was diluted and would not be as profitable as hoped. This meant PfP would not be in a position to offer the increased management fees hoped for. Kelvin Mills emphasised that despite this the revised facility mix wold still deliver the enhanced facilities needed.
In March 2020 the Executive approved the proposals put forward which included closure of the crèche and a revised facilities mix including a soft play area. Increased energy efficiency and carbon reduction were included in the proposal.
On 8 September 2020 the Executive were informed that due to the current financial climate the planned investment would no longer be going ahead at this time but we remained committed to leisure investment post Covid.
The committee were surprised that the climbing wall had been removed and were concerned that the contractor had dictated whether we install a wall. Kelvin explained that as they were PfP’s preferred provider and did not want to go ahead we would not get the increased management fee so it would not be financially viable for us.
The committee felt other providers should have been approached. Kelvin explained that the Clip & Climb ... view the full minutes text for item 32.