Future of Rossett sports centre uncertain

17 September 2013

Harrogate Borough Council is to consult on proposals to terminate its joint use agreement at Rossett Sports Centre.

The council currently manages the sports centre by agreement with North Yorkshire County Council and Rossett School which has been in place since 1993 and allows the borough council to operate the sports facilities outside school hours.

An outcome of a review of the facility has shown that over the last 16 years, the way in which it operates and the level of local competition has changed significantly, resulting in the majority of usage today being facility hire.

Coaching and holiday activities:

In 1995, 67 per cent of total revenue was generated through coaching, supervised holiday activities and children’s parties.

This has now reduced to 32 per cent

Hiring of facilities:

In 1995, 33 per cent of total revenue generated at the site was from hiring of facilities such as squash courts, 5-a-side football, badminton etc

This has now risen to 68 per cent.

In 1995, there were very few organisations that offered coaching, holiday supervision and parties. Today there is much more competition.

As part of last year’s budget setting process it was agreed that consideration be given to the future operating of Rossett Sports Centre.

Councillor Pat Jones, Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Cultural Services, says that whilst running and investment costs are an issue, this decision is just as much about the change in the way the centre is being used by customers.

Pat Jones added:

We have to ask ourselves why we are operating the centre when there is now little demand for coaching and supervision activities. The revenue generated is predominantly facility hire and there is no reason why this couldn’t be delivered by the school or another third party, bearing in mind the council does not own this facility

The proposal is simply about this council’s withdrawal from a management role and removal of the costs that go with that. We would like to think that the facilities can continue to be available for community use outside school hours but ultimately that is a decision for the school not this council. However, this would be consistent with the withdrawal of joint use arrangements at Harrogate High School, Boroughbridge High School and Knaresborough’s King James School where facilities remained open for community use.

The original joint use agreement with Rossett School continues from year to year until determined by either of the parties giving the other at least six months’ notice. As well as operating the centre under the joint use agreement, the council also leases the artificial sports pitch which entitles the council to all revenue outside of school opening hours, but the responsibility for maintenance and replacement lies solely with the council. In 2010, the council replaced the artificial pitch at a total cost of £162,000. The lease expires in January 2015.

The council will be consulting users of Rossett Sports Centre on these proposals.

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