The future of Ladywell Arena

The Council is to dispose of its management responsibilities for Ladywell Arena and athletics track and is seeking expressions of interests from private or community groups interested in running the Ladywell Fields sports facility.

Green Ladywell quotes Lewisham as saying:

“The Council is currently out to tender for its main leisure contract which expires in mid October 2011. As part of that tender we are asking prospective leisure operators to cost the operation of the Arena along with other leisure centres. However, there has been interest from local organisations in the principle of the Arena being managed by a locally based organisation, given its specific focus on athletics and football. The Council is therefore running a parallel process and asking if there is interest from local organisations with both bidding processes ending around the same time, so giving the Council an opportunity to assess the value ( in terms of best value), of both...

The potential community lease of the Arena does include the Gym. The current cost to the Council for managing the facility is approximately £185,320 per year (this changes with GDP each year).”

Local resident Annette Lewis is attempting to put together a community bid and is organising a meeting on March 2nd, 7.30pm, St Mary's Church, Lewisham High Street. She says:

Lewisham Council has invited bids from private sports groups to take over the running of the track and gym on a 10 year lease. The Arena was opened 13 years ago with Lottery money and has recently been upgraded with public money. The track was resurfaced and the gym redecorated and disabled access improved. The Arena is currently managed by Parkwood Leisure but their contract runs out in October 2011.

A group of regular users are campaigning to keep the Arena for public use which includes free use for pensioners and reduced fees for Lewisham Passport holders including the disabled and low income groups and use of all Leisure centres run by Parkwood for one fee for members. There is a junior gym for young people and groups for wheelchair racers. All this may be lost if Lewisham Council give our Arena away.

If anyone wants to contact Annette, she can be emailed here.


Anonymous said...

Libraries,running track,are the Council going to keep anything.Lets see how many jobs go,or will they just be just put into some other fictitious made up post.

Coney said...

More excellent Big Society news for council workers.

Running Nutter said...

ladywell arena is a santuary for a great mixture of sweaty middle aged blokes like me , proper athletes, boxers, cage fighters, runners, footballers etc etc. It was a lovely atmosphere and the track itself is amazing. The staff are also charming and helpful. I will be going to the meeting.

Coney said...

This doesn't seem right, volunteerism should be a value added, enhancing function to council services not a substitute.

And it kinda feels like the 'community' is bein blackmailed; you better run this facility or the big bad private company will OR you lose it altogether.

Headhunter said...

I was just wondering the same thing as anon 10:27.... What exactly are councils still in place for? There was a time when just about everything from park keeping to libraries to leisure facilities were run by the public sector but now it seems nothing is! Not that I have a problem with that necessarily, the private sector may be able to manage things better, who knows. I just wonder why council tax is still so high. Surely with all these things being farmed out over the past 10-20 years to private enterprise, the public sector should have shrunk away and our tax bills should be lower?

Tamsin said...

Or the Council could buy in services from volunteer-run organisations. Thinking primarily here of the Family Support Service offered to Early Years by the Pre-school Learning Alliance. A charity with volunteers in trustee positions (so no shareholder interests to drive down costs to increase profits) employing dedicated and professional staff can offer really good value to local authorities through grants and service level agreements.

But, oh dear, the local authorities are having to cut back on their spending and a grant looks like a grant not a way of effecting a really good service to the community.

grey sky moaning said...

Parkwood run Wavelengths and I'm not impressed. There are national standards for adult to child ratios for swimming (you can take two children between 8 and 3 or something like). Presumably because Parkwood don't want to pay their staff or trust them, I'm not sure which you can't go "young"family swimming here. Even with a shallow pool and lifeguards that humiliate you if you go to waist depth (to try and keep warm) with your toddler, they won't let you in. We have to go to neighbouring Greenwich.

So my toddler doesn't go running but are they anti families (also no family changing rooms in the new pool) at the race track as they are at the swimming pool?

Bored and tired said...

Aren't they just putting out the management tender, as has been the case already, and extending it to allow community groups to apply to run it? Why is the assumption that the council is trying to sell it? Am I missing something?
Funnily enough we went recently for the first time and were very impressed with it. The people were lovely too, nothing like the half wits who run the swimming pools.

Tamsin said...

There was a public meeting on this yesterday - anyone know what happened and what the next steps are planned to be?

Anonymous said...

Intead of passing laws to allow IOC members unhindered access to the UK and the right to extract money without paying tax....why not apply pressure for it to fund the Arena for the next 10 years?

The US TV rights alone generate around £3bn for the IOC.

Anonymous said...

Lewisham council pay Parkwood millions to run the sites into the ground, Parkwood also make lots of profits from the memberships, lewisham need to set up there OWN trust to take the centres on like Greenwhich did, or give GLL (greenwhich)the contract. u need to look at Vision a trust set up by Redbridge to take over from parkwood,u would be shocked at how the centres could turn out

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