Labour Councillor Terry Fox, Leader of Sheffield City Council:
“Last year councillors committed to a £100 million capital investment program for the city’s Leisure and Entertainment facilities, to be invested over the next thirty years, but things are changing fast – both culturally and financially.
“Sheffield is proud of our world class facilities and the Leisure Strategy agreed last year proposed refurbished and rebuilt facilities. However, things have changed significantly, both nationally and locally, so it’s right that we take the opportunity to review the proposals.
“We’ve seen a huge change in recent years around how and when people use leisure facilities. If we are looking to deliver for the next thirty years, we have the chance to ensure we have the right facilities in the right locations throughout the City. Sheffield deserves the best: we need to be brave and bold in our ambition.
“It is crucial that our Leisure Strategy encompasses and delivers on the wider strategic vision on improving health, economic growth, and on providing facilities for all. But we also have to be confident that we are not creating a financial burden for the future so we should revisit the business case. It’s right that we see what the market has to offer and to gather evidence. But we need to understand all the options including whether the council could run these services, either directly or indirectly.
“If we’re to provide millions in public money to the city’s leisure offer, we simply can’t just hand the benefits of this to potential big organisations running facilities, we need to ensure the benefits are felt throughout the entire city.
“Ultimately, we need to develop something that not only provides the best value for the city and our residents but also delivers the most inclusive and exciting leisure and entertainment facilities for everyone. We will review this at every step of the way and encourage Sheffield residents to have their say on what services they want to see.
“Therefore, as Leader of the Council, I will be taking this matter to the Council’s Strategy and Resources Committee so councillors can scrutinise whether this will deliver the best possible value for money for Sheffielders going forward”.