Broxtowe News Update & Information – May 2020 edition
Trust you are all well in these continuing hugely challenging times.
This newsletter features details about much of the work I have been involved in regarding Kimberley Leisure Centre during recent weeks. I endeavour to set out the facts, a timeline and clear account of what happened, with a statement as to where we are at now. Some of you on social media, may have seen this information already, so please bear with me (item 4).
Thank you to all those who have been in touch over the past month on other issues, there’s been lots of comments about planning issues, fly tipping and good feedback about what a local recovery plan might look like in Kimberley and throughout Broxtowe. Going back to fly tipping I have reported all of the areas mentioned to me to Broxtowe, if there are any ongoing matters that have not been resolved please let me know.
There’s some good news for business locally (please see item 1 Reopening High Streets Safely Fund).
If you need help with anything, of have any feedback please let me know.
Together, we can and will get through this.
1) Reopening High Streets fund – COVID-19
Broxtowe Borough Council have been awarded £101,458 under the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund. The Fund will help councils in England introduce a range of safety measures to kick-start local economies, get people back to work and customers back to the shops. It will also support a range of practical safety measures including new signs, street markings and temporary barriers. Councils will also be able to use this money to develop local marketing campaigns to explain the changes to the public and reassure them that their high streets and other commercial areas are safe. The council is now developing an action plan as the money will imminently become available provided our requirements meet the government guidance.
If you are involved in a business in Broxtowe and want any more information, please let me know.
2) When will Broxtowe Borough Council plan to re-open their doors to the public?
The council are aiming to re-open our offices (Beeston) to the public on a limited basis from Monday 14 June onwards 9am -12noon only – subject to further discussions with employees, unions, councillors and partners.
Comprehensive risk assessments will be produced and applied before opening takes place.
The council is working with partners CAB and Police to agree a comprehensive approach to cover:
- Police drop-in service
- Council appointment only
- CAB aiming for appointment only but may well encounter those who need immediate help
Social distancing markers will be needed inside and outside.
The cash payment kiosk will remain closed for the foreseeable future (council)
There will be reduced toilet capacity on ground floor as only 1 person at a time in each toilet area (ie 1 male/1 female).
More information available from Chief Executive – Mrs Ruth Hyde
3) Kimberley Recovery Plan
(a) Friday 15 May – as soon as press release issued – I put this on social media.
Kimberley Leisure Centre: statement from Broxtowe Borough Council today:
15/05/20 – Broxtowe Borough Council has received notice from the East Midlands Education Trust (EMET) to end the current provision of leisure services at Kimberley Leisure Centre.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Milan Radulovic MBE said:
“The Council was shocked and disappointed to receive this notice. We will be working with the trust and our leisure company, LLeisure who operate the facility to come to a resolution amicably and consider options for the future. Our Leisure and Health Committee will consider this matter on 10th June.
Supporting people to live well is one of the Council’s main priorities. I want to reassure residents that as part of work to develop our Leisure Facilities Strategy, we will be making sure that leisure provision is maintained, including the prospect of establishing a leisure facility in the north of the Borough.
My comments – Cllr Robinson:
Obviously should this indeed go ahead – and the current Leisure Centre in Kimberley does close, this is massive loss for the area. I am hugely disappointed with attitude of the Education Trust which has left the council in a hugely difficult position. There are however a number of significant possibilities presented now about how we can secure new facilities in the area, which albeit will be in a different format. I will be working tirelessly with Kimberley Town Council and members of the public to get the best deal for Kimberley. I will cover this topic in greater detail in my next newsletter out later this month
(b) Sunday 17 May 2020 – I posted this on social media:
Kimberley Leisure Centre update:
This might be quite a long post, but I want to be ultimately transparent and candid, provide you a timeline and give some more context on everything related to the Kimberley Leisure Centre.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to answer a few of the questions that I’ve been asked publicly over the past couple of day’s and hopefully shed some light, rather than heat and provide some clarity.
I’ve had lots of people message me private message me on various technical matters regarding the leisure centre. I’ll respond individually and privately, once I have sought clarification from officials at Broxtowe tomorrow.
I was contacted by Darren Henry – Broxtowe MP yesterday afternoon – I had a long conversation with him, and will send him this information too.
- So a lot of people have asked (generally and privately) just how long Broxtowe Borough Council has known about this.
- The council was first notified on 23 April – when the Chief Executive received an email from the school which was a termination under the joint use agreement, from Kimberley school relating to all the main aspects of the agreements effective from 31 August 2020 . The situation with regard to the running of the swimming pool was ambiguous.
- I was notified of this later that day, as were other Broxtowe Borough councillors.
- With regards to the 2nd bullet point above, this news was a complete shock to the council, came completely out of the blue – with absolutely no prior warning or heads up before.
As there are 120 staff employed either directly or indirectly with the Leisure Centre, there were clearly important (and confidential) aspects of of staff contracts, employment issues, finance and legal procedures which the council need to look at in order to determine its own position.
- *All* councillors were asked specifically to refrain on putting any information out in the public domain, as there were for example private and confidential matters relating to staff and their contracts that needed to be clarified, as well a complex legal position to define fully.
- Some mention of the pending closure of the Leisure Centre was put on a social media in the meantime. It shouldn’t have been, but as is often said “we are where we are”.
Last Thursday evening The Chief Executive held a virtual session with a group of councillors (of all political parties), senior officers, to inform us of the latest position, and to invite comment on the way forward and when the basic information was to be made public.
- On Friday 15 May a letter was formally sent to EMET by the council. The council also issued a press notice (meaning this would now being the public domain).
I wanted to be as transparent as possible and let people know what the press statement said straight away, so I simply copied & pasted the details as an information item to Facebook, to let people know, adding my own comments.
- Not everyone reads the Broxtowe Borough Council website, or uses the social media platform Twitter where some press releases are issued, which is why I used Facebook to try and get to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.
I’ve been sent by a number of people the rebuttal from EMET. Lots of people will have their own ideas and form their own opinions, on what has subsequently happened.
I will be seeking to clarify the latest & exact position tomorrow morning.
In terms of moving forward – I’d like to openly acknowledge that I am certainly not the font of all knowledge. Neither do I have the monopoly on the best ideas – *should* it be the case that the current Leisure Centre does not operate after the summer (when general lockdown restrictions may have been lifted) in the form it did prior to 23 March, I know that lots of people have good ideas. There are some industrious people on Kimberley Town Council, some members of the public i.e Pete Thomas – who think outside of the box and offer bold suggestions (and pose challenging questions)!
This will very much be a Team Effort by all residents in and around Kimberley pulling together.
I’ll come back later in the week – with a further update. In the meantime – any questions or comments please come back to me – email: email@example.com
or if privately tel: 0775 1970 640 – or private message me on FB.
(c) Tuesday 19 5 20 – I put this on social media:
I spoke with the the Deputy Chief Executive at Broxtowe today at length, plus the Leader of the council to hopefully get some clarity on where things stand now.
I’ve received scores of messages, apologies for those I have not responded to yet.
The report by the Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser out today is not wholly accurate: please lease see bullet point four below – it will be a special meeting of the Policy & Performance Committee (date to be decided), that will make the relevant decisions.
Here’s my summary:
- Broxtowe Borough Council will not be rushed into a decision regarding the future of the Leisure Centre, following the original notification they received on 23 April terminating the joint use agreement from the school. It’s better to make the right decision for local people rather than a short sighted and incomplete one.
- To clarify from previous comments the basic current arrangements at the Leisure Centre cover a Joint Use Agreement between the school and the council for use of gym, pool, 5 a side, dance studio etc. The gym pool etc are operated by Liberty Leisure.
- Broxtowe Borough Council in this instance is a tenant with the asset belonging to the school.
- Given the importance of this issue the and scale of the challenges for the whole of the borough and to ensure best deal for Kimberley, yesterday the Leader of Council & Chief Exec agreed at looking to hold a special Policy & Performance (most senior committee outside Full Council) next month. There will be a special report for the committee members to consider, aided by specialist leisure consultant, who will guide Members through all issues, looking at all of the fully costed options.
- There are complex legal, financial and personnel matters that the council officers are working on now – in order to give the Members of the Council a complete picture in order that the best long term decisions can be taken.
- Copious work is being undertaken now and will be up to the date of the meeting next month to cover all of the information required for Members of the committee.
I will be looking to speak as a Ward Member at the committee next month, representing the views of Kimberley residents and those outside the area who use the facilities.
This will be a virtual meeting of the council next month, and when the details are available I will let you know.
I am both determined to see and confident that we will get a good result for our area.
Any questions in the meantime please get in touch.
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