A NEW era for Redditch’s leisure and cultural attractions has been hailed as a ‘bright new dawn’ for the town by Redditch Borough Council’s portfolio holder for leisure and tourism.
Rubicon Leisure Limited, the borough council’s new arms-length, not-for-profit ‘Local Authority Trading Company’, will take over the running of the Redditch Palace Theatre, the Abbey Stadium, Pitcheroak Golf Course, Forge Mill Needle Museum and Bordesley Abbey, as well as the town’s community centres, in December.
The services had all been run directly by the borough council.
The move, which was started by the previous Labour administration in the teeth of fierce opposition from the Conservative group who are now in power, comes after more than a year-long process.
Labour’s approach was based on a local survey which showed public opinion to be against privatisation, and for retaining public ownership of the town’s assets and service delivery.
Councillor Mike Rouse (Con, Church Hill) the Council’s portfolio holder for leisure and tourism, said: “The people of Redditch were clear they didn’t want our leisure services to be privatised – and they are not.
“Rubicon is entirely owned by the council but it now has far greater freedom from bureaucracy to be more innovative, creative, and more in touch with the fast-moving world of what people really want to do in their leisure time.
“It’s ours, it has a public service remit, and it also has a degree of business freedom and incentive to innovate and grow.
“It doesn’t take any profits though – any surplus money it does make can only go back into investing in services or reducing the cost to the council.
“This is a bright new dawn for unlocking leisure services across Redditch, for providing good quality jobs and careers for the people who work in the service, and for improving health, fitness and culture outcomes for our town.”
The final decision to make the change was taken by Redditch Borough Council on September 17, which led to the creation of Rubicon Leisure Ltd.
Rubicon Leisure is expected to take over delivery of the borough council’s services on December 1.