Councillor speaks out over Lancing Leisure Centre ‘short-changing’

RESIDENTS have been short-changed by the contracting out of Lancing Leisure Centre, according to one councillor.

Adur District Council was asked to approve a payment to replace broken boilers at the centre, in Old Shoreham Road, at a meeting of the full council on Thursday.

Leader of the council, Neil Parkin, said whether the council or Adur Community Leisure (ACL), part of Impulse Leisure, which runs the centre on Adur’s behalf, was responsible for the payment was currently in the hands of lawyers.

“The bottom line is,” he added, saying the payment was for about £1,000, “that the cabinet decided it was better to get on, get the boiler sorted, then argue the case afterwards.”

If it was found the council was not responsible for the costs, he said, the council would then claim the money back.

However, Liza McKinney, councillor for Marine ward, demanded to see the balance sheets of the centre to examine how much the council had paid towards the centre since it was passed to the company.

Speaking about Adur District Council handing over the running of Lancing and Southwick leisure centres, she said: “I remember very well when we decided to off-load the leisure centres,” she told the meeting.

“A contract was made that as far as I can see we have spent vast sums of money, one way or another, on Lancing Leisure Centre.

“We have paid through the nose, over and over again.

“I believe it has cost us more than if we had kept them.”

Her fellow councillors did not agree, though, and Mr Parkin said the agreement was such that ACL runs the services and has carried out refurbishment, whereas the council was responsible for the buildings.

“We have got a good deal, and we are saving a lot of money every year,” he added.

Julie Searle, deputy leader of the council, said she thought ACL was running the leisure centre “very well”.

She added: “We keep a very close eye on the financial situation.

“We were not making any money on this venture, and the services they are providing they are providing very well.”

It was decided that Ms McKinney would report back to the council, once she had inspected the balance sheets.