Who will be running the Ripon’s refurbished and extended Leisure Centre when it eventually opens?
The question arises, with construction workers back in force at the Dallamires Lane site, where a swimming pool will be part of the £10m leisure complex commissioned by Harrogate Borough Council.
The council is currently consulting on the possibility of creating a Local Authority Controlled Company or LACC, to run leisure facilities that it owns.
As reported by The Stray Ferret, Ripon Leisure Centre is among the council-owned facilities that would be run by the LACC, if the money-saving proposals go ahead, meaning that staff currently employed directly by the local authority would transfer to the new arm’s-length company – a move which Unison’s Harrogate Local Government Branch says raises concerns about jobs and the terms and conditions that would apply to employees.
The council declined to comment when approached about Unison’s concerns.
Ripon’s new six-lane 25 metre swimming pool will replace the city’s Edwardian Spa Baths, that opened in 1905. It will be part of an extended leisure centre (see artist’s impression above) with new changing rooms, community areas, two dance studios and a ‘spin’ studio. Outside, there will be new play areas, a reconfigured car park and sheltered cycle rack.
Following a shut-down caused by the coronavirus crisis, approximately 30 workers, including management, have been back on site since 30th April and Nick Corrigan, operations director for principal contractor Willmott Dixon, said:
“Work started safely in accordance with public health guidelines and adhering to the Construction Leadership Council’s Site Operating Procedures, to ensure the safety and welfare of everyone on site.”
Last week, construction was among the sectors for which the government encouraged workers to resume work, as it revised its lockdown guidance.
Construction sites have to be operated following strict procedures including travel to work, site access and egress, social distancing of employees, hygiene, use of canteens and toilet facilities.