Consultation on the future of Jubilee Pool

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Closes 8 Nov 2020

 Why are we making this proposal?

The council believes that the cost to the council of continuing to support Jubilee Pool will be high at a time when the council faces acute financial pressures, when the number of people using Jubilee is relatively low and when there are other alternative pools nearby. 

In 2018, the council commissioned a condition survey of the building and mechanical and electrical provision at Jubilee Pool. A detailed inspection found that a 
minimum of £260,000
needs to be spent as a minimum to allow the building to function and prevent further deterioration. 

We looked at the number of people using the pool and, while we recognise that there are a number of people who have a very real connection to the pool, the overall number of people using  the pool and gym is low keeping income down even though the number of visits to Jubilee has increased. 

Our data tells us that many people who live near to Jubilee use Hengrove Leisure Centre. Although there has been an increase in attendances at Jubilee, this has not led to comparative increases in income. This is because some members are attending more frequently.

There will continue to be higher costs and reduced income compared to pre-pandemic levels because of the changes to the service that would be necessary to facilitate social distancing measures and because leisure operators tell us fewer people are likely to use swimming pools. This means that the financial burden on the council would be greatly increased to support Parkwood through this period of reduced income. The investment in the building would still be required but the limitations of the site mean that there is no opportunity to provide any additional services to increase attendance and income.

The council does not believe that it is a good use of limited council funding to subsidise this facility while maintaining Hengrove Leisure Centre, which provides all of the services that are available at Jubilee, just over 2 miles away. Hengrove is able to accommodate all current users and school groups of Jubilee Pool, and was built taking into account the growing population due to new housing in the local area. 

If the decision is taken to close Jubilee Pool, the council will work with Parkwood Leisure to ensure that members and users of Jubilee Pool are made aware of all the facilities and activities on offer at Hengrove. Members of Jubilee Pool will be able to use the pool and gym facilities at Hengrove during the consultation period, when Hengove opens, using their Jubilee membership.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Hengrove Leisure Centre or Bristol South Pool be overcrowded if members and users of Jubilee have to use those pools instead?

There is enough capacity at both pools for Jubilee pool members and users. Hengove Leisure Centre was built taking into account the growing population due to new housing in the area.

If Jubilee Pool closes will my school be able to use other facilities?

Yes Parkwood Leisure, the company that runs both Jubilee Pool and Hengrove Leisure Centre will be in touch to organise use of Hengrove should a decision be made to close Jubilee Pool.

If Jubilee Pool closes what happens to my membership?

Whilst closed Parkwood proposes to offer any members at Jubilee access to Hengrove using their current membership. If the decision is made that Jubilee was to be closed we would need those members to transfer to the Hengrove price structure. Currently Jubilee membership is £19.99 per month. At Hengrove it is £29.25 for concessions and £39.00 for full priced memberships.

Is there enough swimming pool capacity across the city?

In 2015 the Council asked Sport England to provide some insight on the supply and demand of swimming pool provision based on modelling scenarios using the Sport England Facility Planning Model. This showed that, at that time, supply of pool water space was equal to the demand.  It went on to look at future requirements in the light of population growth and predicted a slight shortage of pool water space, city wide, by 2026. The council also had some modelling done in 2019 as part of the work on the whole city leisure offer which also showed a theoretical deficit of pool water space. However, our data shows that Hengrove and Bristol South have the capacity to accommodate users from Jubilee.

What will happen to the building as it’s listed as a building of historic importance?

At the moment we have no plans for the building. Permitted development rights still apply to Locally Listed buildings outside of a conservation area, although the council always supports an adaptive reuse approach.

Other options we have considered

The council has considered the following alternative options but is not recommending taking these forward.

Option 1

Reopening the pool in line with Government guidance and providing the financial support to Parkwood Leisure until revenues are back to normal

Why we are not recommending taking this forward:

Given the short time that the contract has to run, the considerable amount of investment required in the building and the level of financial support required by the operator this option is not financially responsible. The council is not contractually required to provide this support.

Option 2

Accepting Parkwood’s termination of the Contract and trying to find another Leisure Operator to run the facility.

Why we are not recommending taking this forward:

The council’s PFI contract at Hengrove Leisure Centre allows for an exercise to be undertaken to see if a council owned or managed facility within 2.75miles of Hengrove is having an effect on the income at Hengrove. Because Parkwood currently manage both Hengrove and Jubilee this has not been an issue up until now. 

However, if Jubilee is managed in the future by a different operator this could have the effect of increasing the annual payment to Parkwood, the operator of Hengrove Leisure Centre.  Equally, increased income at Hengrove could result in the council paying less.

There is a low likelihood of being able to find another operator who wouldn’t need financial help from the council, and there remains the potential to trigger the benchmark at Hengrove.

Significant investment in the building would still be needed.

Option 3

Accepting Parkwood’s termination of the Contract, taking the service ‘in-house’ and running it ourselves. 

Why we are not recommending taking this forward:

The same reasons as given in option 2 apply:

The council’s PFI contract at Hengrove Leisure Centre allows for an exercise to be undertaken to see if a council owned or managed facility within 2.75miles of Hengrove is having an effect on the income at Hengrove. Because Parkwood currently manage both Hengrove and Jubilee this has not been an issue up until now. 

However, if Jubilee is managed in the future by a different operator this could have the effect of increasing the annual payment to Parkwood, the operator of Hengrove Leisure Centre.  Equally, increased income at Hengrove could result in the council paying less.

There is a low likelihood of being able to find another operator who wouldn’t need financial help from the council, and there remains the potential to trigger the benchmark at Hengrove.

Significant investment in the building would still be needed.

Option 4

Accepting Parkwood’s termination of the Contract and awarding it to a ‘community trust.’

Why we are not recommending taking this forward:

This is not allowed under procurement rules as contracts need to be offered for competitive tender. Even if such a bid were successful, the same reasons as given in Option 2 would apply.

Option 5

Considering passing the building to another organisation by way of a Community Asset Transfer (CAT)

Why we are not recommending taking this forward:

The condition of the building and the sum required in order to maintain it in good order makes it a poor candidate for CAT. In addition, the reasons described in options 2 and 3 are still relevant.