Presentation on theme: "1 Leisure Facilities Strategy Wrexham County Borough Council Final Version 13 November 2013."— Presentation transcript:
1 Leisure Facilities Strategy Wrexham County Borough Council Final Version 13 November 2013
2 Contents 1.Our brief 2.Facilities overview and mapping 3.Review of the physical infrastructure 4.Usage analysis 5.Financial performance 6.Supply and demand of leisure facilities 7.Consultation 8.New Facility Feasibility 9.Recommendations
3 Our brief Wrexham County Borough Council directly operates a portfolio of 11 sports facilities. Against the backdrop of targeted budget savings across the Council the cost of operating its leisure portfolio has been brought into sharper focus. The Sports Consultancy has been appointed to undertake a Leisure Facilities Strategy to identify the most appropriate mix of facilities, taking into consideration likely community need, current usage and the net costs of operating and maintaining the facilities. The current portfolio consists of 5 community use facilities and 6 dual use facilities (which are located at and shared by schools): 1.Waterworld (community wet and dry centre) 2.Plas Madoc Leisure Centre (community wet and dry centre) 3.Chirk (community wet and dry centre) 4.Gwyn Evans (community wet and dry centre) 5.Queensway (athletics track, grass pitch and dry centre) 6.Clywedog (dual use wet and dry centre) 7.Rhosnesni (dual use wet and dry centre) 8.Ruabon (dry only) 9.Morgan Llwyd (dry only) 10.Darland (dry only) 11.Grango Synthetic Turf Pitch
4 Our brief The current net annual cost of operating the portfolio (excluding depreciation) was £1.8m in the 2012/13 financial year. In tandem with the development of this Leisure Facilities Strategy, The Sports Consultancy has also undertaken a New Leisure Facility Feasibility on behalf of the Council. This has recommended the replacement of both Plas Madoc Leisure Centre and Waterworld on a site currently occupied by the Crown Buildings in the centre of Wrexham town centre. Together, these two current leisure facilities cost almost £900,000 to operate (or £1.2m including depreciation). Plas Madoc has reached the end of its useful life and is not considered fit for purpose; whereas Waterworld’s potential for its required extension and improvement is limited on its current footprint due to boundary constraints. The recommendations that form part of this Facilities Strategy take into consideration: 1.The physical condition of each of the leisure facilities 2.Future repairs and maintenance 3.Actual usage of the facilities 4.Consultation with user groups and stakeholders 5.The ongoing cost of operating the facilities 6.Location and catchments 7.Supply and demand for leisure facilities in the County Borough 8.Potential for a new leisure centre.
5 Wrexham portfolio Wrexham has a total of 12 public leisure facilities serving a County Borough population of 130,000. This portfolio comprises: 5 Council (community) facilities (indicated in red) 6 dual-use (school) facilities (green) 1 tennis centre, already outsourced (blue) The Tennis Centre is operated by a Trust and falls outside the scope of this strategy. Clywe dog Water world Plas Madoc Darland Morgan Lloyd Gwyn Evans Queens way Rhosnesni Ruabon Chirk Grango Tennis Centre
7 The map illustrates a 2-mile radii around each of the Wrexham leisure facilities. This indicates that Wrexham seems to be overprovided in terms of the number of leisure facilities. We have used a 2-mile radius as 80% of a facility’s users is typically drawn from within a 2-mile catchment. With the exception of Darland, all dual use facilities’ catchments overlap with those of the community use leisure centres. Facility mapping
8 Swimming Pools Waterworld (25m x 6 lane) Plas Madoc (20m x 3 lane) Gwyn Evans (25m x 4 lane) Chirk (25m x 4 lane) Clywedog (20m x 4 lane) Rhosnesni (20m x 4 lane) Facility mapping
9 Facilities Mapping Swimming Pools Mapping 2 mile radius catchment Blue: community pool Red: school-based dual use This indicates that there is considerable overlap in catchment between Clywedog, Rhosnesni and Waterworld in the centre of Wrexham.
10 Facilities Mapping Swimming pool location – proximity analysis This indicates that there are two swimming pools (Clywedog and Rhosnesni within 1.5 miles of Waterworld and three within 3.6 miles. The nearest alternative pool to Plas Madoc is Chirk, 5.1 miles away. Relative proximity - Wrexham Pools (in miles - quickest driving route) WaterworldClywedogRhosnesniPlas MadocChirkGwyn EvansMean Waterworld -1.51.08.211.13.65.1 Clywedog 1.5-18.104.22.168.44.5 Rhosnesni 1.02.2-10.013.13.25.9 Plas Madoc 8.26.310.0-22.214.171.124 Chirk 11.19.313.15.1-11.410.0 Gwyn Evans 126.96.36.199.411.4-6.0
11 Facilities Observations and key issues On the evidence of the location and mapping analysis it appears that the following facilities are located within the same catchments and will potentially be competing for the same users: Swimming pools: Rhosnesni and Clywedog are located circa 1 mile from Waterworld Health & fitness gyms: Queensway gym and Clywedog gym are both located circa 1 mile from Waterworld
12 Condition surveys Visual inspections of all 11 leisure facilities were undertaken in the summer 2013. The Architects AFLS&P reviewed Plas Madoc and Waterworld, whereas the Council’s team focused on the remaining 9 facilities. These inspections highlighted the current condition of the facilities and identified any works required in the immediate, short, medium and long term timescales. These were not detailed, intrusive condition surveys and further work should be done to further investigate some of the issues highlighted in more detail. The condition surveys are appended to the Facility Feasibility Report and an overview is detailed within the main body of that report. In summary, however, the cost of the work identified is £2.86m, the majority of which (£1.7m) is related to Plas Madoc. We have estimated that the Council is responsible for 96% of the cost of the maintenance, repairs and replacement, representing a cost of £2.74m (based on the assumption that the Council is responsible for the structure of the facilities, with the non-structural responsibilities split on a 50:50 basis with the school). The remaining £0.13m should be payable by the dual use schools under the terms of the agreements between the Council and the schools. Immediate2 years3-5 years5 years as % of total Council's estimated share of costs£337,375£860,025£1,440,725£100,000£2,738,12596% Schools' estimated share of costs£1,375£23,525£101,225£0£126,1254%
13 Condition surveys Plas Madoc accounts for the vast majority (at 58%) of the total identified costs. As the analysis later in this report will confirm, the facility only accounts for 20% of total usage as a proportion of total usage across the portfolio. The identified works by facility are set out over the following pages.
17 Condition surveys Potential additional costs We should point out that improvements related to DDA compliance have not been costed in, save for the Plas Madoc and Chirk facilities, so total costs could be higher than presented here. Also, pool-related leaks were identified at Waterworld, but as the void under the pool is inaccessible, it was not possible to either identify or cost a solution. The Council’s liability of £2.7m is therefore considered to be the minimum that should be budgeted for. Having reviewed the items identified within the condition surveys, we would consider it very unlikely that the expenditure would lead to any improvement in the net-revenue generating capability of the portfolio. Emerging recommendations and key issues arising from Condition Surveys Plas Madoc is considered to have reached the end of its designed life and spending £1.7m on the recommended work is not considered good value for money. Moreover, regardless of the current condition of the facilities, the sheer size of the portfolio necessitates significant annual investment in terms of maintenance, repair and replacement of assets.
18 Waterworld is the County Borough’s most important leisure facility in terms of the level of usage it attracts (almost 400,000 per annum and 35% of the total). Plas Madoc attracts over 220,000, or 20% of the total usage. Together, the 6 dual use facilities generate almost 100,000 visits, or just under 9% of the total. The dual use centres account for just 8.8% of total usage, whilst representing 55% of the physical portfolio. Usage analysis
19 Usage analysis Introduction This section details the usage of each of the facilities in terms of health & fitness, swimming and sports halls visits. This helps understand the relative importance of each facility and the extent of their contribution to delivering the Council’s leisure services. Health & Fitness There are 200 health and fitness stations (e.g. treadmill, bikes, resistance trainers) spread over 6 of the Council’s leisure facilities. Our analysis of the usage of these gyms indicates the following: 1.With the exception of Waterworld, the other gyms are not well-used. The average hourly peak in 2012/13 in terms of number of users is highest at Waterworld (14 users), representing an average of 35% of operating capacity (14 users, 40 stations). 2.Plas Madoc attracts an average peak hourly attendance of 9 users, representing just 19% of capacity. 3.Usage at Queensway, Chirk and Gwyn Evans is 17% and below, attracting a peak hourly usage of just 4 people each. 4.Clywedog School gym appears to be almost completely redundant in terms of a community leisure facility. It attracts very little community usage - the average peak usage per hour is just 1 person per hour.
21 Usage Analysis Health & Fitness Whilst the usage at Gwyn Evans and Chirk is low, the facilities do nevertheless serve distinct catchments. Queensway, and Clywedog however, are located within circa 1 mile of Waterworld and serve the same catchment. Ideally, the stations at Queensway and Clywedog should be amalgamated with those on the Waterworld site, albeit the physical constraints at Waterworld currently rules this out as an option (unless a new facility is built). Closing the gym would allow further staff reductions to be made at Queensway as it could then be managed remotely by staff at the new facility (we would suggest a full time team would not be required to manage the stadium). NW Crusaders have said that the Queensway facility would be enhanced by the availability of a team/analysis room. The gym could therefore be converted to a more appropriate use at very little cost. The Children’s Gym (20 fitness stations) could be relocated to a school. Although we have not yet received the usage data for this facility, it is likely that it would be better utilised located in a more accessible venue.
22 Usage Analysis Swimming pool usage The number of pool visits per annum across the portfolio appears to have increased by 12% since 2009. Waterworld accounts for circa 50% of all swimming usage, Plas Madoc c24% and the dual use sites just 4.6%.
23 Usage Analysis Swimming pool – usage analysis Whilst pool usage at Waterworld appears to have declined 12% over the past 3 years, a recent survey was undertaken of the pool users which showed that 40% did not have a valid ticket. Swimming lessons numbers have grown over the years whilst adult and junior attendances have reduced. Anecdotally and from occasional complaints from customers, the pool seems to be less accessible due to the pool space taken up by increasing lessons. Also in 2011 the slides were closed, rapids & bubble pool (the latter since reintroduced as a result of the use of technology) closed until 4 pm each day Monday to Friday in term time to reduce expenditure. WW used to offer the widest range of free swimming time of all the facilities. In the last 2 years forced changes have reduced the free swimming time available and consequently free swimming numbers have reduced substantially when compared with other sites. Plas Madoc appeared to have a particularly good year in 2012/13. The driver for this is not clear, although the summer weather was bad in 2012 and new lockers were installed improving the changing area.
24 Usage Analysis Swimming pool – usage analysis Rhosnesni pool usage has declined substantially since 2009. During the financial year 2011 - all public swimming and swimming lessons were stopped as a result of a change in the operation down to one supervisor lone working. The pool attracts an average of just 40 swimmers per week, or 8 per weekday. These could be accommodated elsewhere if the pool closed to public use. Clywedog benefitted from the transfer of the swimming programmes and some block bookings from Gwyn Evans. Then with increased bookings and better recording, usage numbers improved in the year to March 2013. Chirk – usage has increased significantly (albeit from a low base) since 2009. In 2011/12 the boiler was replaced and the 2012/13 increase versus the previous year was due to better data capture and recording. The opening of Oswestry Leisure Centre does not appear to have affected usage., indicating that it attracts a very local catchment. Gwyn Evans reopened in January 2009 after a major refurbishment and then gradually over the years improved programmed activities and more bookings has increased usage figures. Again, a lot of usage had been missed due to things not being recorded through the booking system properly prior to 2012/13.
25 Usage Analysis Swimming pool – programming Whilst there are six swimming pools serving the Wrexham population – which we would maintain would be too many compared to similar catchments - it is worthwhile understanding the specific roles each facility plays in terms of swim programming. Wrexham appears to offer a balanced programme of swimming across its portfolio.
26 Usage Analysis Swimming pool – programming The majority of public usage at the dual use sites is taken up by club hire and classes. There is no public swimming offered at either of these facilities. It is worth exploring with Clywedog whether the primary school swimming lessons hosted by Plas Madoc could be accommodated by the school during school hours. Chirk would also be a good alternative candidate to host primary school swimming if Plas Madoc were to close.
27 Usage Analysis Swimming pool – Plas Madoc School Usage Plas Madoc is used by 7 Wrexham primary schools to deliver their swimming programmes. In the event Plas Madoc is closed, it appears most appropriate for these schools to use their next closest venues, which will be either Clywedog or Chirk: SchoolTravel to Plas MadocTravel to nearest alternative poolIncrease in drivetime 1Acrefair0.7m1 minute3.8m10 minutes(Clywedog)9 minutes 2Rhosymedre0.9m3 minutes4.1m9 minutes(Chirk)6 minutes 3Ruabon St Mary's1.2m3 minutes4.5m9 minutes(Chirk)6 minutes 4Maes y Llan1.4m4 minutes4.8m10 minutes(Chirk)6 minutes 5Ysgol Hooson2.4m8 minutes4.1m11 minutes(Clywedog)3 minutes 6Maes y Mynedd2.9m10 minutes3.8m10 minutes(Clywedog)0 minutes 7Pen y Lan3.3m8 minutes6.3m12 minutes(Chirk)4 minutes Average1.8m5.3 minutes4.5m10.1 minutes4.9 minutes The average drivetime to Plas Madoc for these 7 schools is 5.3 minutes (1.8 miles). Moving these schools to alternative pools will, on average, increase their drivetime by 4.9 minutes (2.7miles, one-way) to 10.1 minutes. This is not considered an unreasonable increase. We have consulted with each of these schools, details of which are set out in the Consultation section of this strategy document.
28 Usage Analysis Swimming pool – programming The programmes on which we have based our analysis relate to lane swimming. We have not taken the leisure pool at Plas Madoc into consideration, only the 3 lane portion of the pool. Our analysis shows that Plas Madoc and Waterworld have similar profiles, with around two-thirds of swimming lane hours set aside for public use. There is virtually no club swimming at Plas Madoc It indicates that Chirk is an important facility in terms of offering a balanced programme of swimming across the full spectrum of user categories, serving a local catchment Around 10% of Plas Madoc’s programme is for school usage.
29 Usage Analysis Sports Hall Usage Wrexham’s supply of accessible sports hall in the County Borough is the equivalent of 32 badminton courts. We have researched the usage of these facilities to assess how busy they were during the 2012/13 financial year. Ruabon, Gwyn Evans, Plas Madoc and Clywedog are well-used, with the facilities booked for 60%+ of the time they are open for public use. Darland, Rhosnesni and Chirk sports halls are empty more often than they are used Usage at Morgan Llwyd is very low. % hours bookedMonTueWedThurFriSatSun Ruabon4 courts66.0%47%65%89%56%73%closed Gwyn Evans4 courts65.8%51%81%77%73%48%closed Plas Madoc4 courts65.6%55%66%67%76%53%72%71% Clywedog4 courts + gym hall60.2%57%50%79%67%48%closed Darland4 courts49.2%37%48%44%48%69%closed Rhosnesni4 courts + gym hall42.1%51%43%57%32%29%closed Chirk1 court41.5%62%53%54%40%46%20%15% Morgan Llwyd4 courts + gym hall23.0%19%27%18%28%closed
30 Usage Analysis Synthetic turf pitch - Grango The full-sized synthetic turf pitch (STP) at Grango School generated £6,600 in 2012/13, of which the Council retained 30% (or £1,990) under the terms of the usage agreement with the school (which retains 70% of the income). Council income of £1,990 is very low given the Council seems to retain the burden of maintaining the facility; we would question whether this is a fair split. The Sports Consultancy’s database indicates that a well-performing full-sized STP should be expected to generate around £100,000 per annum. Grango’s exposed and relatively remote location prevents it from achieving the usage necessary to generate these income levels. However, given that an average 5 a-side pitch – which is significantly smaller in area - typically generates in the region of £40,000 to £50,000, Grango’s performance is considered to be poor.
31 Usage Analysis Synthetic turf pitch - Grango The cost of hiring Grango for an hour is: Full Pitch: £78.20 (Adult) or £50.05 (Junior) Half Pitch £31.65 (Adult) or £21.10 (Junior) We understand that the vast majority of bookings are to hire a half-pitch. Assuming an adult:junior usage split of 50:50, this suggests an average cost per session of around £26. There were 256 bookings in 2012/13, representing an average of 8 bookings per week in the 8 months it is open for use (Sept to March). This level of usage is considered to be very low given the lack of competition in the County Borough. We would suggest making the facility open for bookings during the entire year, extending across April to August which would allow it to benefit from the attraction of the better weather, as well as higher value summer camp bookings. Whilst the operating performance of the facility appears to suggest it is underutilised, it is the Council’s only synthetic turf pitch and, as such it serves and identified community need. Moreover, as set out in the Consultation section within this report, the Welsh FA has identified Grango as a potential location for a football hub and academy.
32 Usage Analysis Plas Madoc usage - general The postcode analysis of users of Plas Madoc Leisure centre (who visited the facility at least once during 2012/13) shows the majority of users are based outside of the immediate area. This would suggest that the precise location of the facility is not important to the majority of users and is does not serve an exclusively local catchment.
34 Usage Analysis The Equality Act 2010 The Equality Act 2010 makes provision for the protection of people from discrimination on the grounds of such protected characteristics as their age, sex and disability. In terms of its policies, management and programming, the Council’s leisure portfolio is open to all and does not discriminate. However, the condition surveys highlighted certain areas where the physical infrastructure at Plas Madoc prevents the facility from offering the same terms and quality of usage to disabled users, specifically in the changing areas and access between floors (i.e. the lift is not compliant with the Act). In order for the Council to comply with the Act it could either make reasonable adjustments to the existing building, or ensure that when/if a new facility be built it is designed without these physical barriers preventing equal treatment for disabled users.
35 Usage Analysis Observations and emerging issues Our analysis of usage of the facilities has highlighted the following: 1.Plas Madoc accounts for 20% of all leisure usage and 24% of swimming visits 2.The health and fitness usage at Waterworld is far better than any of the other facilities. Queensway, Chirk and Gwyn Evans attracted an average hourly peak of just 4 people during the 2012/13. Clywedog attracted an average of just 1 person per hour. Whilst Chirk and Gwyn Evans serve specific local catchments, Queensway and Clywedog do not. We would therefore recommend that the fitness stations be amalgamated at a bigger gym, ideally Waterworld (albeit we understand the constraints of the current Waterworld site). 3.Plas Madoc does not exclusively serve a specific local catchment and draws users from a wide area. The specific location of the facilities provided therein is therefore less of an issue. 4.Rhosnesni pool attracts very few users (an average of just 8 per day). These swimming visits should be able to be accommodated elsewhere by other pools in the portfolio. The rationale for the Council continuing to operate the pool is weak. 5.In the event Plas Madoc closes, the primary school swimming lessons could be hosted by both Chirk and Clywedog, the two nearest alternatives for the 7 primary schools that regularly use Plas Madoc.
36 Usage Analysis Observations and emerging issues 6.The sports halls are relatively well used, with the exception of Morgan Llwyd, the reasons for which are not clear but we would suggest that its close proximity to Rhosnesni (less than 1 mile away) and Glyndwr University Sports centre (2 miles away) is the overriding factor. 7.The Council should explore the potential to extend the opening period for the Grango into the summer holidays to drive usage and revenue from summer camps. It is currently very poorly used and generates less that £2,000 for the Council, despite the Council retaining the responsibility for it management and maintenance.
37 Financial Performance Overview The net cost to the Council of operating the 11 in-house facilities is £1.8m (2012/13 actual). Plas Madoc and Waterworld cost a combined £0.9m to operate per year on turnover of £1.85m. Going forward, the cost of operating Plas Madoc is projected to increase significantly as refurbishment, repairs and replacement of the structure and plant and machinery is required.
38 Key Performance Indicators (2012/13) The Sports Consultancy maintains an operational database of over 250 UK public leisure facilities (52.9% of which are Council-run), containing over 500 financial records. We have compared the financial performance of Wrexham’s facilities against these records, focusing on the following key metrics: 1.Income per visit 2.Subsidy per visit 3.Cost recovery The performance of each facility is detailed over the following pages. Financial Performance
39 Key Performance Indicators (2012/13) Income per visit Financial Performance FacilityIncomeVisitsIncome per visit UK Database average Variance to UK averageUpper QuartileLower Quartile 1Plas Madoc£672,953 223,047£3.02£3.75(20%)£4.37£2.67 2Waterworld£1,173,155 394,106£2.98£3.75(21%)£4.37£2.67 3Gwyn Evans£413,323 166,275£2.49£3.75(34%)£4.37£2.67 4Chirk£268,292 138,709£1.93£3.75(48%)£4.37£2.67 5Queensway£134,776 97,115£1.39£2.83(51%)£3.66£1.43 6 Clywedog £71,126 32,868£2.16£3.28(34%)£4.23£2.48 7Ruabon£50,063 19,904£2.52£3.28(23%)£4.23£2.48 8Rhosnesni£38,045 12,108£3.14£3.28(4%)£4.23£2.48 9Darland£18,779 11,552£1.63£3.28(50%)£4.23£2.48 10Morgan Llwyd£14,138 17,447£0.81£3.28(75%)£4.23£2.48
40 Key Performance Indicators (2012/13) Subsidy per visit Financial Performance FacilitySubsidyVisitsSubsidy per visit UK Database average Variance to UK averageUpper QuartileLower Quartile 1Plas Madoc(£554,662) 223,047(£2.49)(£1.13)(120%)£0.15(£2.33) 2Waterworld(£331,443) 394,106(£0.84)(£1.13)26%£0.15(£2.33) 3Gwyn Evans(£193,203) 166,275(£1.16)(£1.13)(3%)£0.15(£2.33) 4Chirk(£269,550) 138,709(£1.94)(£1.13)(72%)£0.15(£2.33) 5Queensway(£206,963) 97,115(£2.13)(£1.96)(9%)(£0.88)(£2.64) 6Clywedog(£28,396) 32,868(£0.86)(£3.05)72%(£1.24)(£3.79) 7Ruabon(£52,991) 19,904(£2.66)(£3.05)13%(£1.24)(£3.79) 8Rhosnesni(£55,221) 12,108(£4.56)(£3.05)(50%)(£1.24)(£3.79) 9Darland(£36,580) 11,552(£3.17)(£3.05)(4%)(£1.24)(£3.79) 10Morgan Llwyd(£47,515) 17,447(£2.72)(£3.05)11%(£1.24)(£3.79)
42 Wrexham Leisure Centres Financial Key Performance Indicators The entire portfolio is generally underperforming across the range of KPIs The income per visit generated by both Plas Madoc and Waterworld is circa 20% below the UK average generated by wet and dry centres The income per visit generated by all of Wrexham’s leisure facilities is below the UK average The income per visit generated by the dual use centres is up to 75% worse than the average dual use centre performance The subsidy per visit at Plas Madoc is 1.2x higher than the UK average (£2.49 v £1.13). Financial Performance
43 Observations and emerging issues There is no prospect of Plas Madoc’s operating or financial performance improving. Indeed, as the building ages, the maintenance costs are likely to increase and the financial burden of operating the facility will be exacerbated. Waterworld’s performance is severely impaired by the physical constraints of the facility. The size of the fitness gym is a limiting factor in maximising income generation. This cannot be extended beyond 40 stations, although the market analysis indicates that there is significant latent demand to justify a gym of a significant scale (120 stations). The dual use centres are underperforming and remain a financial burden to the Council. They account for 8.8% of total visits but only 6.8% of income, and 12.3% of subsidy. The cost to the Council of the dual use centres is almost £220,000 per year. Financial Performance
44 Observations and emerging issues In TSC’s opinion, one of the key reasons why the individual performance of each facility is so poor is because the portfolio is too large and the usage and income generation are spread too thinly. At almost £2m per year, the cost of operating the portfolio is considered to be completely unsustainable. Continuing to retain such a large portfolio of buildings will mean that the Council retains the associated risks and responsibilities regarding maintenance of these assets. The cost of maintenance is likely to continue to increase as these facilities age. Financial Performance
45 Supply and Demand Introduction Detailed demand and supply analysis for Wrexham has been completed for swimming pools and sports halls using Sport Wales’ Facility Planning Model (FPM). This provides a robust, industry recognised, assessment of supply and demand for these facility types. In addition to the findings of the FPM, an assessment of supply and demand for health and fitness facilities was commissioned from specialist market research company (The Leisure Database Company).
46 Supply and Demand The key findings from the supply and demand analysis are: Swimming Pools 1.Permanent closure of Plas Madoc has a negative impact in the overall supply but most users will be displaced to other facilities in the County Borough without significant impact on accessibility for those currently using Plas Madoc, apart perhaps from those accessing via walking. There are alternative local pools, most notably Chirk and Oswestry (North Shropshire), which could accommodate increased use, as well as the potential replacement for Waterworld. Therefore, the impact of the closure of Plas Madoc can be mitigated through access to alternative facilities and the replacement of Waterworld, particularly if a larger, preferable, 8-lane pool option is chosen.
47 Supply and Demand Sports Halls 2.Currently the area around Plas Madoc is very well provided for, in terms of sports halls, arguably overprovided for. The closure of Plas Madoc has a negative impact in the overall supply for the County Borough; however most users will be displaced to other facilities in the County Borough, without significant impact on accessibility for those currently using Plas Madoc. By closing Plas Madoc the area becomes similar to the rest of Wrexham. In essence, there are alternative local halls, which could accommodate displaced users from Plas Madoc. Therefore, the impact of the closure of Plas Madoc is not significant. 3.In central Wrexham, however, the analysis identified a deficit of provision of 8-12 badminton courts. This is relevant to take into consideration when deciding on the future of the facilities in the town centre, particularly the dual use sites.
48 Supply and Demand Health & Fitness stations 4.The data from The Leisure Database indicates that is greater scope for additional fitness provision in the town centre compared to the Plas Madoc area. If Plas Madoc leisure centre were to be rebuilt on its existing site, we would recommend that an additional provision of just 4 extras stations be provided, i.e. 54 compared to the current level of 48 stations. However, if a new facility were to be built adjacent to the current Waterworld facility then the market would justify and additional 80 stations (120 compared to the current 40 stations at the existing Waterworld gym). The size of the gym is relevant because it is a key revenue generator; investment in the town centre will attract higher user numbers than Plas Madoc and therefore generate greater revenue.
49 Consultation Introduction We have contacted over 60 organisations with a vested interested in the Wrexham portfolio, including clubs, user groups, schools and national governing bodies, in order to better understand the leisure portfolio from a wider perspective. We had a good response to our approaches, receiving written responses from 10 strategic stakeholders and 17 user groups. We have also consulted with all 5 of the dual use schools, 4 of which have provided written responses to our questions. The respondees are listed here.
50 Consultation – Strategic Stakeholders Swim Wales Wrexham’s pool provision plays a vital role in delivering Swim Wales strategy in the locality. With no accessible private / alternate provision we are entirely reliant on Local Authority partners to help deliver National Swim Wales and Sport Wales initiatives. Swim Wales has affiliated Swimming clubs operating from the facilities: a)Wrexham Swimming Club – operates primarily from Waterworld, (plus Gwyn Evans and Clywedog). b)Wrexham Aquatics Club –primarily water polo (Waterworld) c)Chirk Swimming Club – operating from Chirk Leisure Centre There are three primary functions that the facilities provide: a)Performance Swimming b)Pathway opportunities (water polo and other aquatics activities) c)Delivery of the Welsh Learn to Swim Programme – Aqua Passport Swim Wales considers the provision, quality and management of facilities in Wrexham to be good and in challenging financial circumstances this is far better than some other providers elsewhere in Wales.
51 Consultation – Strategic Stakeholders Swim Wales (cont’d) They suggest that Plas Madoc and Waterworld may be heading towards the back end of their lifespan. Their main concern is accessibility of the water space in Wrexham. They have long sought a way to work with the Authority and Wrexham Swimming club to improve their access to pool time to enable them to reach Swim Wales’ ‘Performance Club’ status. Performance Club criteria requires 20 hours of pool time access per week for the top squad, and appropriate progressions to that squad from learn to Swim. This is not being met in Wrexham. As Wrexham is the third largest population centre after Cardiff and Swansea it is imperative for Swim Wales to have a fully functioning performance centre (utilising the existing Wrexham Swimming Club). Other areas including Newport, Bridgend, Pembrokeshire and Conwy have managed this without vastly different facilities. Swim Wales would like to see a 50m pool in Wrexham (within the main conurbation replacing Waterworld would be the logical choice). This would be of a flexible design allowing performance swimming, lessons and public at any one time, and this could provide the function of several of the other pools while being more economical and more versatile.
52 Consultation – Strategic Stakeholders Swim Wales (cont’d) They are aware that Glyndwr University are also keen to add a pool to their portfolio under the right circumstances and would strongly advise a partnership to run such a facility. In the more immediate term their absolute priority is to secure the correct pool time to ensure Wrexham is the performance club the area requires. Swim Wales suggests that the swimming provision is spread too thinly across the Wrexham sites. Newport for example within the main urban area operate just two large facilities one orientated towards ‘serious’ swimming including performance, and the other a freeform leisure pool. In recent years Merthyr is an example of another Authority that has consolidated its provision on a smaller number of sites but with larger more versatile facilities.
53 Consultation – Strategic Stakeholders Sport Wales Provides £450,000 of funding per annum to Wrexham CBC for the delivery of various sporting programmes including Free Swimming (£148k), Dragon Sport and 5x60 (£278k) to ensure a range of extra-curricular opportunities are provided to young people. This is dependent on locally accessible sports facilities. Cricket Wales Ruabon School fulfils a crucial role for Cricket Wales as the facility to deliver coach education, regional representative cricket, indoor leagues and club coaching in North West Wales. It is the only facility of its kind in the region and is essential for the development of cricket. The facility is fit for purpose and with a well-managed maintenance regime (a priority) will continue to provide an excellent facility in the future.
54 Consultation – Strategic Stakeholders Badminton Wales Darland School and Gwyn Evans seem to be the most important facilities in the delivery of badminton. Plas Madoc is used for badminton for just 45 minutes per week and Rhosnesni just 50 minutes. Badminton is in demand in Wrexham but not considered “healthy” by the NGB (Badminton Wales). Hockey Wales, Welsh Football Trust and Welsh Rugby Union These three National Governing Bodies submitted a joint response to the consultation which highlighted their focus on delivering an all-Wales plan for artificial turf pitches (ATPs). It recommends the designation of a nationally significant (i.e. 2 pitch) hockey centre at Glyndwr University. This would allow for the conversion of other ATPs in the County Borough as hubs for football (40-45mm grass length 3rd generation), football/hockey (40mm 3G with shockpad) and football/rugby (60mm 3G with shockpad). Their spatial plans for football identifies Ysgol y Grango as a potential football hub and academy in partnership with Cefn Druids AFC (a priority club for FAW). The ATP strategy for Wrexham would be completed by the creation of a rugby hub in conjunction with Wrexham RFC.
55 Consultation – Strategic Stakeholders Hockey Wales, Welsh Football Trust and Welsh Rugby Union (cont’d) The strategy notes the existence of the ATPs at Chirk (small ATP), Clywedog School (full size), Morgan Llwyd School (full size), and Rhosnesni but makes no specific recommendations for their future use or development as sports hubs. However, it does stress that all high schools in Wales should have access to at least one ATP and in this respect, Wrexham is serving an important sporting need for these schools. Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham (AVOW) Considers there to be a good mix of facilities which are well-established across the County Borough. The Healthy Eating and Being More Active Outcome Group (HEBMAOG) considers that the range of facilities offers opportunities for all their client groups (including young people, pregnant women, deprived communities and disabled people). NHS team (Caia Park) Queensway and Waterworld are considered pivotal to the delivery of programmes by the NHS Health Team (Caia Park) to increase physical activity levels and help reduce obesity. Obesity rates are high in Wrexham (at 58%) and activity levels are low (33%). The NHS team considers the accessibility of these facilities to be very good. The scope of facilities is considered good, but the facilities generally need updating.
56 Consultation – Strategic Stakeholders Disability Sport Wales Disability Sport Wales employs a development officer in the Wrexham County Borough. Their role is to ensure appropriate access for disabled people to sports facilities as part of its community programme. In addition, they run a “virtual” academy and performance programme which formalises the process of identifying and developing elite disabled athletes. It is considered essential that athletes are given access to high quality local sporting facilities.
57 Consultation – Plas Madoc Specific Introduction Given the sensitivity of the recommended option to close Plas Madoc Leisure Centre, we have ensured the views of the main user groups of that facility have been consulted to understand: the extent of their usage, why they choose to use Plas Madoc over the other options (if any), and how the users of each group travel to and from the facility. Those consultees specific to Plas Madoc are: 1.Wrexham Roller Hockey Club 2.Splash & Rhyme 3.Llangollen Canoe Club 4.Maes y Llan School 5.Maes y Mynydd School 6.Rhosymedre School 7.Ruabon St Mary’s School
58 Consultation – Plas Madoc Specific Key messages Wrexham Roller Hockey Club and GBHI North Wales use Plas Madoc exclusively. Very few leisure centre allow roller hockey to be played due to the potential damage to the sports hall flooring. They use the sports hall once a week for club days and once a fortnight for League games. Plas Madoc hosts the league games for ALL clubs in North Wales. The charge for an entire day’s hire at the weekend is just £100. They would be happy to relocate if an alternative home could be found (Deeside Leisure Centre was their former home prior to its refurbishment). Whilst not made specifically clear, we can assume that the majority of the users travel to the facility by car as it attracts clubs from all over North Wales. Some of the local club’s users walk from the neighbouring Plas Madoc estate. The Splash & Rhyme group uses Plas Madoc just once a week for an hour. They originally approached Waterworld to host the sessions so we can assume that the specific location is not important. Llangollen Canoe Club uses the pool once a week due to its wave machine, shallow entry points and its central location. The majority of its members travel to the facility by car. Changing facilities are considered to be poor and the car park is poorly lit.
59 Consultation – Plas Madoc Specific Key messages Seven local primary schools use Plas Madoc once a week for swimming lessons. Schools would use another facility if it was located close enough The schools use a bus to travel to the facility, with the exception of Rhosymedre who walk. Travel time is key. Only Rhosymedre considers Plas Madoc’s specific location to be critically important to its continued usage We have researched the likely alternative locations to host the schools’ lesson programmes. If the schools switched to Clywedog School or Chirk Leisure Centre, their each-way travel time would increase by an average of just 5 minutes. Summary It seems that the cost and convenience of Plas Madoc are more important considerations than its specific location. There are other options available for the schools to use if they would consider an average 5 minute extension to their journey time. The roller hockey clubs are likely to be affected most by the closure of Plas Madoc and would appreciate help from the Council to relocate; this was not forthcoming when Deeside Leisure Centre was no longer an option.
60 Consultation – User Groups Overview Users are not precious about what facility they use and would be prepared to use a different/new facility if necessary The majority of users travel to facilities by car No real issues were raised regarding the quality of facilities, with the exception of Plas Madoc. The users all seem to enjoy a good relationship with the Council’s leisure staff. Olympic Wrexham Gymnastics Club is located at Queensway. Although they do share an entrance, they do not share any of the other facilities and can therefore be considered to be self-contained. This is an important when considering the option of closing the fitness gym at Waterworld and relocating the staff; they are not required to support the gymnastics club.
61 Consultation – Dual Use Schools Dual Use Schools The Council operates 5 dual use leisure centres (excluding Grango’s AWP), two of which have swimming pools. We have received written responses to our consultation questions from all except Clywedog School. Given the potential option for the Council to withdraw from operating the facilities it is crucially important to understand the schools’ appetites to operate the facilities directly and take on the associated operating and financial risks. If there is no willingness for the schools to operate for the benefit of the community use – regardless of the available income generation – then this is likely to put pressure on the remaining portfolio. There remains the option, of course, to retain the dual use schools and convert to a staffless operation, similar to Darland. We would consider that this is not an option for the pools due to health and safety concerns.
62 Consultation – Dual Use Schools Dual Use Schools Rhosnesni School warns that it would be highly likely that they would close the pool. However, they may consider offering access to the dry facilities during weekdays. Ruabon School would be interested in the option of operating the facilities themselves for the benefit of the community, particularly if the access systems could be converted to allow a staffless operation. They are concerned, however, about the cost of maintenance of the facility. Morgan Llwyd do not appear to have considered the opportunity in any detail, other than making clear that if the operation was loss making (as the Council’s financial reports indicate) then they would not consider operating the facility for community use. Darland School considers the staffless operation implemented at their site to be far from ideal due to the associated problems with security, cleaning and user management. They do, however, see an opportunity to pass the responsibility for managing the facility to a local voluntary group such as the PTA or the Gresford Trust.
63 Consultation – Dual Use Schools Summary and Key Issues It seems likely that the pools will close if the Council withdraws its operational and financial support. The schools appear to have no incentive to finance a loss making facility. The impact of Rhosnesni closing will be relatively immaterial as it only accommodates an average of 8 swimmers per day. Clywedog pool, however, is significantly busier and could be used as a ideal alternative venue for primary school swimming. The case for the Council continuing to support it is therefore far stronger However, the schools do see the opportunity to generate income from the dry side facilities and it is therefore likely that these remain open to the public even if the Council withdraws its support. The supply and demand analysis we have undertaken suggests that the deficit in sports hall provision will provide an opportunity for greater usage of the remaining sports halls and therefore higher revenue generation.
64 New Facility Feasibility The Sports Consultancy’s New Facility Feasibility (which should be read in conjunction with this report) makes the following recommendations: 1.Demolition of Plas Madoc and Waterworld, to be replaced by a single facility on the site of the Crown Buildings in the town centre. 2.The scope of facilities to comprise: a)8-lane 25-metre County standard swimming pool b)Spectator seating for 250 people c)Learner pool d)Leisure water area (one flume feature) e)120-station health and fitness area f)2 fitness studios (30-person capacity plus storage) 3.Capital cost of £11.9m (including fees, contingencies and demolition)
65 New Facility Feasibility Assuming the operation of the facility is outsourced, it is likely to deliver revenue savings of £946,014 compared to 2012/13 actual financial performance, representing a potential to leverage prudential borrowing of up to £13.2m. A likely necessary borrowing requirement of £11.9m would mean that the facility would be fully funded, and deliver the Council savings of £96,443 per annum after financing costs. £ 1Close Plas Madoc£554,662 2Close Waterworld£331,443 3Build, finance and operate new leisure centre(£789,662) Net cost improvement£96,443
66 Summary and Recommendations The research and analysis undertaken as part of the development of this Leisure Facility Strategy has identified opportunities to significantly improve the portfolio whilst delivering a brand new and fit-for purpose leisure centre and securing sustainable operational savings. The recommendations have been made taking into consideration: The condition of the facilities Usage Financial performance Consultation with user groups and stakeholders The supply of and demand for leisure facilities in the Wrexham area The likely benefits of building and operating a new leisure centre to replace existing facilities.
67 Summary and Recommendations Our recommendations are: 1.Hand back the dual use facilities, to the schools with the exception of Clywedog swimming pool (which could play a role in hosting primary school lessons, club swimming and classes. The risk of the schools deciding to close the dry facilities is considered to be very low in view of the income generation opportunities available to help subsidise the schools. This is an important consideration as there is an identified deficit of sports halls in the town centre. The Council has a role to play in helping the schools to understand this potential and provide more information regarding the likely associated operating costs to help ensure these sports halls remain open to the public. Rhosnesni pool is likely to close but as this only serves an average of 8 people per day, these can be comfortably relocated elsewhere. 2.Close Plas Madoc leisure centre – it has come to the end of its designed life and requires £1.7m of maintenance, as identified in the condition surveys. 3.Close Waterworld and build a new leisure centre on the adjacent Crown Buildings site. Waterworld is reaching the end of its design life and it constrained by its physical infrastructure to maximise income. 4.Close the Queensway and Clywedog gyms and relocate the fitness provision to the new leisure centre. Clywedog pool and Queensway stadium should be retained by the Council.
68 Summary and Recommendations Adopting these recommendations could secure £399,330 of annual operational savings and deliver a fully funded new leisure facility to serve the population, helping the Council ‘make Wrexham a better place for people to live, work, learn and play in’. These savings are summarised in the table opposite. Note that these include support services of c£300,000 which the Council will be able to realise at central office level. In terms of timescales, savings of £857,549 should be achievable in the year to March 2015 by closing or handing back those facilities identified in the table. Waterworld should be retained until construction of the new leisure facility has been completed and it is operational. It will also help the Council avoid over £2m of essential maintenance work over the next 5 years. Summary of avoided R&M identified by Condition Surveys£ 1Plas Madoc£1,675,000 2Waterworld£15,000 3Rhosnesni£96,800 4Ruabon£35,550 5Morgan Llwyd£54,000 6Darland£185,750 Avoided condition survey works£2,062,100 Summary of annual operating savings available£ 1Close Plas Madoc (100% saving versus current operating costs)£554,662 2Close Waterworld (100% saving versus current operating costs)£331,443 3Build, finance and operate new leisure centre(£789,662) 4Hand back Rhosnesni (100% saving)£55,221 5Hand back Ruabon (100% saving)£52,991 6Hand back Morgan Llwyd (100% saving)£47,515 7Hand back Darland (100% saving)£36,580 8Hand back Clywedog gym (25% saving)£7,099 8Close Queensway gym (50% saving)£103,481 Total potential annual savings£399,330