Improvements at the Princess Royal Sports Arena
For many the Princess Royal Sports Arena has had a chequered past despite its much needed contribution towards improving the leisure, health and well being of local residents.
Alongside other facilities such as the Geoff Moulder Leisure Centre and Peter Paine Centre the Borough is well placed to address the health inequalities highlighted for Boston in national surveys.
Recognising the reputational challenges the PRSA had become well known for, and the budget cuts being introduced by Central Government, the Borough Council has been required to look at different ways to provide these much loved services. To date we have seen the Peter Paine Centre move over to Boston College and the PRSA move from a local leisure trust called the Boston Sports Initiative to a leisure trust with a national presence called 1life.
Focusing on the PRSA the facility was costing the taxpayer £300,000 pa in subsidy to keep it going. In 2016 the new arrangements with 1life have seen the facility operate for the first time at a zero cost to the taxpayer which has the potential save the taxpayer £6m over the lifetime of the lease. This has in part been made possible by the investment in biomass heating boilers and a modernisation of the gym which continues to see gym membership for the operator increase. Over the last 12 months the Council has been working with the outgoing BSI to support the organisation in winding up its operations. Funds were reserved and previous underwriting agreements ensure all final sums due with HMRC and professional advisors could be challenged and settled. This has now been done and the Trustees have started the winding up process which will see the end of BSI. The new arrangements with 1life have removed the cost to local taxpayers whilst at the same time improved the offer and quality of the facility. The following links provide the full details of the public reports considered by the Corporate and Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee prior to Cabinet on these matters.
Anyone wishing to visit the PRSA and look into the activities and gym offer can call 01205 358666 or visit their website http://bit.ly/2qgnOBO