New-look ‘Leisure Estate’ to transform Oldham sports facilities in ten-year council deal

By Aimee Howarth

An exciting future for sports and leisure provision in Oldham will be kick-started with a ten-year deal to transform the borough’s services.

Oldham Community Leisure (OCL) signed a contact with Oldham Council to take control of the ‘Leisure Estate’ facilities until March 2023 – with an option to extend by five years.

OCL, which has run the area’s sporting facilities since being founded in 2002, will aim to develop the services on offer to the public and reduce the revenue burden on the council.

The plans also include the creation of new leisure facilities in Royton town centre and at Eagle Street/Manchester Street to replace the existing Oldham Sports Centre.

Stuart Lockwood, Chief Executive of OCL, revealed plans are already in the pipe-line to get more people involved in sports as well as improving the facilities available.

“There are some fantastic commitments from OCL within the new contract, such as free adult swimming lessons, which we believe will make a real difference by raising activity levels and helping people lead a more active lifestyle,” he said.

“Oldham Council’s commitment to renewing the facilities shows real ambition. It will give the borough some of the best facilities in the country.

“OCL’s own planned investments into Saddleworth and Failsworth this year will mean all the sites within the new contract will soon be high-quality and enjoyable places to visit.

“That is absolutely essential if we are to encourage more people to be more active, more often.”

OCL beat off competition from two other parties to be chosen as the preferred bidder for the contract last December.

Councillor Hugh McDonald, Cabinet Member for Education and Safeguarding, said: “This is the end of a journey – and the start of a new and exciting partnership with OCL.

“This whole process has been about looking to the future of our leisure provision and seeking to provide fit-for-purpose and high quality facilities that properly fit our residents’ aspirations and needs.

“This new contract delivers better value for money for council taxpayers and we are reinvesting the savings made to help us improve the leisure offer.

“We are delighted to be working alongside OCL again to deliver better facilities and services that the whole community, and people of all ages, can benefit from.”

Picture courtesy of Jim Bahn, via Flickr, with thanks.

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