West Suffolk councils look to reduce their fees with £5million strategic investment fund for Abbeycroft services

West Suffolk House, St Edmundsbury ANL-141216-142053001
West Suffolk House, St Edmundsbury ANL-141216-142053001
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A £5million fund which would end management fees being paid by councils who own leisure facilities in Bury St Edmunds and Haverhill is being considered.

St Edmundsbury Borough and Forest Heath District councils are looking to set up a fund of £5million for investment in the leisure facilities they own which are run by Abbeycroft, a social enterprise.

Currently the councils pay an annual management fee to Abbeycroft, this year £212,000 and £523,000 but in the light of financial challenges to the public sector they want Abbeycroft to become self sufficient.

On top of this the two councils will have to pay to maintain their buildings totalling £9,296,500 which includes £5million for major plant renewal at the Bury swimming pool.

This week councillors in West Suffokk were asked to agree to the £5million strategic fund from reserves, £3.5million from Forest Heath and £1.5million from St Edmundsbury.

This would be available for upgrading and providing new capacity in Abbeycroft’s leisure offer.

Councillors were also asked to support a long-term leisure partnership agreement, with a business plan which would see the management fee reduced to zero and the outcomes of the councils’ Promoting Physical Activity Framework met.

St Edmundsbury Cabinet meeting was also asked to approve £177,582 for the 3G pitch at Skyliner Sports Centre and approve £240,000 of investment to equip the centre.