Fenland’s search for a partner to run area’s leisure centres gets underway

The Hudson Leisure Centre in Wisbech.
The Hudson Leisure Centre in Wisbech.

The process of finding a new partner to run Fenland’s four leisure centres has got underway, with a formal tender process being launched this week.

Fenland District Council is inviting tenders from potential operators to manage its New Vision Fitness centres in Wisbech, March, Whittlesey and Chatteris.

George Campbell Leisure Centre March

George Campbell Leisure Centre March

It is seeking a highly-experienced operator that can demonstrate a shared commitment to council priorities, maintain and develop a quality, sustainable leisure service and reveal exciting plans for innovation and investment in facilities.

The procurement process will run for 16 weeks until March 26, 2018, when submitted tenders will be evaluated. If the bids are suitable, a preferred bidder will be selected – with a view to a 10-year contract starting in November 2018.

Councillor Michelle Tanfield, portfolio holder for leisure, said: “I would like to make it absolutely clear our leisure centres are not for sale. With the council’s current financial position in mind, we need to look at the most efficient way of running them. The tenders need to match our expectations in terms of quality and sustainability and provide the best service for our customers, to be a viable option.

“Our priority is to continue to provide a service which is accessible to all.”

The council is working with staff, including Unison representatives, to ensure the leisure centre team is kept informed of the process and what it means for them. The decision to seek a new partner to manage the centres was taken as part of the council’s spending review.