Users of Shropshire’s indoor leisure facilities asked for views on new strategy
Current and potential users of indoor leisure facilities in the Shropshire Council area are being asked to comment on the council’s revised draft indoor leisure facilities strategy in a consultation that starts today (Monday 20 March 2017).
The strategy sets out minimum leisure facility provision to meet the needs of Shropshire residents. It recommends ‘leisure hubs’ at six locations and ‘community leisure centres’ in a further four locations (see note 1).
The draft strategy first went out to consultation between July 2016 and September 2016, and 90 responses were received.
The responses to that consultation have helped – in the context of the council’s ongoing financial situation, and an emerging agenda that places physical activity at the heart of individual and community well-being – to inform a redraft of the strategy.
Shropshire Council now wishes to consult further with the public and stakeholders on the strategy before it is finalised.
The draft indoor leisure facilities strategy for Shropshire sets out a vision in which the provision of indoor leisure facilities will support a wider vision in which “Shropshire will be a county where healthier, active lifestyles are encouraged, supported and facilitated for everyone”.
The strategy aims to increase physical activity levels, and use physical activity and sport to raise aspirations, support health improvements, tackle inequality in communities, grow the economy, create more jobs, and underpin the continued social, physical and economic regeneration of neighbourhoods.
George Candler, Shropshire Council’s director of place and enterprise, said:
“Since the Indoor Leisure Facilities Strategy for Shropshire was originally written in 2009, the severe pressures on public finances make it increasingly difficult to support a sustainable, affordable and ‘future-proofed’ offer.
“Through this second consultation we want to fully understand the needs and views of as many members of the community as possible, to help us plan the best way to support the provision of leisure facilities in the future. We want to hear from people who don’t currently use leisure facilities, as well as people who do.”
The results of the consultation will be carefully considered, and then used to inform the completion of the strategy, which will then be considered by Shropshire Council’s Cabinet later in 2017.
- The strategy recommends ‘leisure hubs’ at six locations, and ‘community leisure centres’ in a further four locations, as follows:
- Leisure hubs: Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Ludlow, Bridgnorth, Market Drayton, Bishop’s Castle.
- Community leisure centres: Church Stretton, Whitchurch, Cleobury Mortimer, Ellesmere.
- Under the strategy 89% of Shropshire residents will be able to access leisure centres within one of these ten locations within a 20-minute drive time. In setting this out, the strategy recognises that the way that people access leisure provision is much more complicated than this simple analysis suggests; for example, not everyone has access to a car, and public transport options are more limited in rural areas.
- The strategy also recognises that residents have access to leisure facilities in neighbouring council areas, and that there are many other options available to residents including private discount gyms, health spas, community halls, school community facilities, etc.
- The strategy will be supported by the development of a detailed action plan to cover the period 2017/18 to 2021/22, which will be reviewed in the context of the council’s financial position.
- While Shropshire Council does not have any statutory duties to provide leisure facilities, it has a responsibility to meet Disability Discrimination Act, Equality Act and broader social inclusion requirements.
- The strategy sets out Shropshire Council’s preferred course of action, but the ability of the council to support leisure facilities beyond 2018/19 will be determined in due course as the council’s medium-term financial position becomes more clearly defined.
- Within this consultation we are not consulting on the future location of swimming provision within Shrewsbury. This is subject to a process set out within detailed Terms of Reference confirmed by Shropshire Council’s Cabinet on 28 September 2016. For further information visit: https://shropshire.gov.uk/swimming-provision-in-shrewsbury/