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DelegatedDecisionWSP[1]

DelegatedDecisionWSP[1]

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Published by: ventnorblog on Sep 13, 2011
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07/07/2014

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1
36/11
DECISION UNDER DELEGATED POWERSDECISION CANNOT BE TAKEN BEFORE WEDNESDAY, 21SEPTEMBER 2011
Title
APPROVAL FOR THE TERMS OF THE DISPOSAL OF
 
WATERSIDE POOL AND ADJACENT LAND TO THE WATERSIDECOMMUNITY TRUST
 Report To
DEPUTY LEADER AND CABINET MEMBER FOR THE ECONOMY,AND THE ENVIRONMENT
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY1. This paper sets out how the Council proposes to provide support to the WatersideCommunity Trust so that this voluntary organisation is able to acquire Waterside Pool andthe land adjacent to it and continue to make it available to the Ryde community. This willrequire the Isle of Wight Council to provide a capital investment of £50,000 in the pool, astart up cash grant of some £16,061 and to allow the Trust to receive the benefit of incomethe Council currently receives from the Ryde canoe lake café and boats. This proposalprevents the closure of the pool which the Council has had to consider in order to achievethe significant savings required of it so that it can continue to deliver its legal obligations tothe required standards.PURPOSE2. To agree the leasehold disposal of Waterside Pool and land adjacent to it to the WatersideCommunity Trust.OUTCOMES3. The Ryde community is able to sustain the retention of Waterside Pool as a communityasset.4. Annual revenue savings of £224,400.BACKGROUND5. At its meeting of 7 December 2010 the Cabinet agreed to advertise for proposals to bebrought forward for the acquisition of Waterside Pool as a community swimming facility. Itfurther agreed that unless a viable proposal at nil longer term cost to the Council wasunder active consideration at the time of the budget setting Council meeting in February2011, a recommendation would be made to remove the £250,000 annual operating
 
 
2subsidy from 2011/12 onwards, leading to the pool’s closure with effect from 31 March2011.6. The Cabinet confirmed this recommendation when it met on the 8 February 2011 to finaliseits proposals for full Council in respect of the 2011/12 budget.7. The process to be used for seeking expressions of interest in the acquisition of the poolwas agreed by a Cabinet Member delegated decision on 4 January 2011.8. Following this decision a marketing exercise was completed in which expressions ofinterest in the acquisition of Waterside Pool were requested from third party organisations.Eleven requests for further information were received but ultimately only one expression ofinterest was received which appeared to meet all of the necessary criteria. Theorganisation making the proposal, the Waterside Action Group became the Council’s‘preferred bidder’ for the facility.9. It was not possible however to reach agreement with the Action Group on the terms for itsacquisition of the pool in the time between the receipt of its proposal and the meeting ofthe Council in February 2011. Such agreement needed to meet the Council’s aspirationsthat the pool be operated at nil longer term cost to the it, and be capable of ensuring thatthe Action Group could sustain the availability of the pool to the community in the mediumto long term.10. On the basis that these negotiations were ongoing, when full Council met on the 23February it agreed that, rather than close Waterside Pool on 31 March 2011, the Councilwould provide £100,000 of funding for the operation of the pool in 2011/12 to allow thenegotiations to be concluded and hopefully avoid the closure of the pool for any period.11. As a consequence the Council planned to continue to directly operate the pool until, at thelatest, the 31
 
October 2011. To achieve this the Council reorganised the then operationaland staffing plans for the facility such that it could be operated within the £100,000available budget for the main holiday and visitor season on the Island. This ensured theprovision of the facility during the busy period but at reduced opening times.12. Discussions with the Waterside Action Group have continued since the decision of the fullCouncil in February 2011. Officers have provided a significant amount of information,advice and guidance in order for it to develop its initial proposals into an offer which issustainable for the Action Group and the Council.13. The Action Group has itself developed and become a formally constituted body, theWaterside Community Trust (WCT). It has also been able to strengthen the skills andexperience of its main board and this has helped it to develop its initial proposal for theacquisition of the pool into that which is presented for consideration in this paper.
Waterside Community Trust Proposal
14. WCT has provided the Council with an updated proposal for its acquisition of the pool inthe form of a revised business plan demonstrating how it will be able to continue to provideswimming opportunities for the community in the first three years following its acquisition ofthe pool. The overall business plan is summarised in Appendix 1 to this paper but the keyissues within it are set out in the following paragraphs.
 
 
315. An important part of the revised proposal made by WCT was the provision of information inrelation to its proposed operation of the facility. This information relating to proposals forthe general operation of the building, staff training, marketing, building maintenance andlegal compliance has been reviewed and is considered to be sufficient for the purposes ofoperating the pool.16. A summary of the financial elements of WCT’s proposal is shown in Appendix 2. Thisidentifies that Waterside Community Trust requires continued public sector subsidy in thesum of £230,835 over the three years of its plan. Its expectation is that this will beprovided by (as a minimum) Ryde Town Council (£77,018) and the Isle of Wight Council(£153,818).17. WCT assumes that this Council’s contribution will be made up by earned income for whichit will take responsibility (£76,800 over 3 years) plus a cash grant of £77,018 (average£25,673 per annum) over the three-year period of the business plan. The earned incomewill derive from the Trust’s management and maintenance of the boats on Ryde canoelake and also the canoe lake café. Together these facilities currently provide an annual netincome to the Council of £25,600.18. It is not clear whether WCT would require further funding from the Council beyond the endof its three-year business plan. If however, the Trust is not able to develop new incomestreams or reduce its operating costs to replace the annual average cash grant (£25,673)payments to be made by the Isle of Wight Council in accordance with WCT’s proposal,then it will require further funding; or to reduce the opening times and/or close the facilityaltogether.19. WCT proposes that it should acquire from the Council the land adjacent and to the west ofthe pool along with the pool itself as shown in the site plan in Appendix 3. It is WCT’sintention to develop this area and create a surplus of funds that it would be able to reinvestin securing the future of Waterside Pool.20. WCT has identified the replacement of a boiler, a pool filter and the pool cover as essentialto the successful delivery of its proposal and is seeking the Council’s further support inundertaking these works prior to the transfer of the facility to WCT. The estimated cost ofthese works is £20,000.21. The Council’s decision in seeking proposals for the acquisition of the pool was that it theacquirer must continue to provide for community swimming opportunities but at nil longerterm cost to the Council. The proposals made by WCT require the Council to fund one offcapital works costing some £20,000, to forgo an annual net income of £26,500 and also toprovide a revenue grant of, on average £25,673 per annum in the three years following theTrust’s acquisition of the building. Notwithstanding the proposed total revenue investmentby the Isle of Wight Council of some £153,818 over this three year period, there is noguarantee that WCT will not seek further funding from the Council in future years.22. It must therefore be concluded that the current proposal made by WCT does not meet theCouncil’s agreed intentions for Waterside Pool and is therefore unable to be recommendedfor acceptance.
An Alternative Model for Supporting Waterside Community Trust

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