Cheltenham Borough Council
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Issue - decisions

Financing arrangements for improvements to Leisure-at-Cheltenham

10/04/2017 - Financing arrangements for improvements to Leisure-at-Cheltenham

The Cabinet Member Healthy Lifestyles introduced the report which outlined an improvement scheme requested by the Cheltenham Trust which would deliver much needed investment into Leisure@ Cheltenham to keep it competitive and to enable a growth in income and footfall.

 

She referred Members to the financial information in the report and the conditions for the loan and governance going forward. It was proposed that the council would support this request via a loan of up to £1.5m which would be repaid by the Trust at an interest rate of 3% per annum.

She believed that these improvements would be great for children and families and the change would provide a foundation for the Trust to grow going forward which would provide economic benefits to both the Trust and the council in terms of a growth in income and footfall. She highlighted the importance of facilitating access to the enhanced leisure offer to the most deprived areas of the town and highlighted that this work formed part of ongoing work of the Trust to enliven their facilities in the town which included the Town Hall.

 

The following questions were raised and responses given :

·         What metric was the Cabinet Member going to use to determine how successful the new facilities would be? Were there any predictions as to what increase in attendance was needed to cover the funding? In response the Cabinet Member said that an in-depth analysis of potential additional income which included an increase in food and drink purchases and memberships was available.

·         When asked how robust the forecasts were with regard to income and what risks there were around these number and what process had been undertaken to get to these numbers the Cabinet Member invited the Deputy S151 officer to respond. The officer clarified that the external loan covered the administration costs. She was satisfied that the business case was robust as the costs had been challenged in great detail with management and Directors and the consultants. The business case would be further developed and if there were any differences a report would come back to Council accordingly.

·         A comment was made as to whether Leisure@ would be examining the provision of healthy food and drinks to play its part in combatting obesity.  The Cabinet Member pledged to provide a full answer to this question.

·         When asked whether this new facility would require additional staff the Cabinet Member confirmed that there would be qualified staff to supervise; in addition parents would be able to hire the splash pool for birthday parties.

·         In response to a question on whether fees would increase, the Deputy S151 Officer referred to the fact that the business case did not foresee any additional fee increases, just an increase in the volume of activity.

·         One Member believed that Council should be presented with the detailed analysis of the figures before voting on the proposal. In response the Cabinet Member said Council’s agreement in principle was sought at this stage and no overspends were foreseen. Should there be any changes to the figures Council approval would be required.

·         In response to a question it was confirmed that it was normal practice for a contingency figure of this order (£106k) would be put into a scheme of this size.

·         A Member welcomed the further investment into the council’s facilities which would serve different age ranges at a time when borrowing costs to the council were low. The Cabinet Member confirmed that work had begun in terms of financing and work on site would begin in September with the facility opening by March 2018.

 

RESOLVED (unanimously) THAT

 

Subject to the conditions set out in section 6 being met to the satisfaction of the Section 151 Officer in consultation with the Cabinet Member Finance:

 

a)    a loan of up to £1.5million at an interest rate of 3% per annum be offered to the Cheltenham Trust for onward funding of the improvements to Leisure-at-Cheltenham as detailed in Section 3 of this report;

 

b)    a loan agreement be entered into with The Cheltenham Trust for the sum of up to £1.5m at an interest rate of 3% per annum for onward funding of the improvements to Leisure-at-Cheltenham as detailed in Section 3 of this report.

 


09/03/2017 - Financing arrangements for improvements to Leisure-at-Cheltenham

RESOLVED THAT

 

1.    the proposed improvements to Leisure-at-Cheltenham as set out in this report be approved

 

2.    Council, subject to the conditions set out in section 6 being met to the satisfaction of the Section 151 Officer in consultation with the Cabinet Member Finance be recommended to authorise :

 

3.    The Authority to offer a loan of up to £1.5million at an interest rate of 3% per annum to the Cheltenham Trust for onward funding of the improvements to Leisure-at-Cheltenham as detailed in Section 3 of this report;

4.    The Authority entering into a loan agreement with The Cheltenham Trust for the sum of up to £1.5m at an interest rate of 3% per annum for onward funding of the improvements to Leisure-at-Cheltenham as detailed in Section 3 of this report.