More time for Newport leisure trust review
9:42am Monday 27th January 2014 in News
A REVIEW of proposals for Newport council’s leisure services to be run by a trust has been given more time after complaints from councillors.
Meanwhile the learning, caring and leisure scrutiny committee heard concerns over plans to save £32,000 by pulling funding from Newport Food Festival and Christmas events.
A group of three councillors from the committee, Chris Evans, Mark Spencer and Kevin Whitehead, had weighed up different options for the future of leisure services in Newport and had backed the idea of a trust to run them.
However the group – which only met twice in January – said the limited time frame for their investigation meant their conclusions were based on limited evidence.
According to minutes of the last meeting of the committee, the review is not due to be considered by senior cabinet colleagues until March, giving members a chance to revisit their investigation and undertake further work.
It was decided that the review would report back to the committee in February.
No decision has yet been made on the leisure trust proposal, but if the move went ahead around 504 employees working for council leisure services could be transferred to the new service provider.
Meanwhile the committee meeting, which is chaired by Malpas councillor David Mayer, heard disappointment that the provision at proposals to cut funding for Newport Food Festival and Christmas events for “the attraction they represented” to visitors.
“Coverage for the city was considered widespread as a result of these events, together with other notable benefits commercially,” the minutes read.
There was concern raised at the sustainability of some events if council funding was withdrawn, becoming reliant on attracting other sources of funding.
Budget proposals for Newport also include plans to cut funding for the Big Splash event, with staff looking for alternative sources of funding.
A consultation on proposals to save £25 million over the next four years ended last Friday.
Newport council’s cabinet is due to consider feedback from the exercise on February 10, with the authority to approve its budget and set the council tax rate at a full council meeting on February 25.
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