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ELDC cuts could lead to new management at town’s pool

Horncastle Swimming Pool and Fitness Suite

Horncastle Swimming Pool and Fitness Suite

Speculation is mounting that Horncastle’s swimming pool and leisure centre complex could be heading into new ownership in 2014.

East Lindsey District Council has admitted it needs to slash its annual budget for culture, leisure and tourism.

The council has set up a scrutiny panel to examine various cost-cutting measures.

The panel’s remit will include handing over management of leisure centres to charitable or, in some cases, private companies.

The news comes as figures show ELDC pays more than £1.5m in annual subsidies to centres.

The figures include £205,000 of council tax-payers’ money to Horncastle’s swimming pool.

That compares favourably with subsidies of £370,000 for Skegness swimming pool and £210,000 for Mablethorpe Sports Centre.

The largest amount was paid to Louth’s Meridian Leisure Centre, which received £650,000.

Louth’s London Road Sports pavilion also received more than £80,000 while ELDC handed over £126,000 to the Embassy Theatre in Skegness

ELDC leader Coun Doreen Stephenson said: “Our leisure services are excellent but we need to cut costs.”

Visitor numbers indicate leisure centres and swimming pools continue to be popular, although there are concerns about the number of young people who use them.

Handing over management to a charitable company would make it easier to attract funding from outside agencies. Income would also be boosted by a fall in VAT payments.

ELDC has pledged to continue to deliver leisure facilities and has also indicated a £50,000 subsidy to the annual So Festival will continue.

 

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