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Alive West Norfolk venues in King’s Lynn, Hunstanton and Downham Market could transfer back into council ownership

New opportunities could beckon for Alive West Norfolk venues as a report recommends that its management is transferred back to the borough council.

This step for Alive, which has been operating as a company for the past five years, will help it to attract the capital investment necessary for it to continue to improve its facilities, West Norfolk Council believes.

In 2019, the management of council leisure and arts facilities transferred away from the council and Alive West Norfolk was set as a Local Authority Controlled Company (LACC).

The Oasis Leisure Centre in Hunstanton is one of the Alive West Norfolk venues which could be transferred back into council ownership. Picture: Google Maps
The Oasis Leisure Centre in Hunstanton is one of the Alive West Norfolk venues which could be transferred back into council ownership. Picture: Google Maps

This was agreed as part of the council’s ‘best value’ approach to providing services, which aims to achieve the best balance between meeting the needs of residents and the cost of providing services.

As an LACC, it was hoped there would be opportunities for Alive West Norfolk to grow by allowing it to bid for contracts outside the borough.

However, a number of factors arising since then have made this challenging to achieve, including the lasting impact on usage caused by pandemic restrictions, rises in the cost of living and a recent ruling on VAT which means the services will benefit financially by being run by the council.

Alive Lynnsport in King's Lynn
Alive Lynnsport in King's Lynn

Cllr Simon Ring, the borough council’s cabinet member for business and culture, said: “This proposal offers a positive and proactive opportunity for the council and Alive West Norfolk to invest in the health and wellbeing of our communities – which is one of the key aims of our corporate strategy.

“The council will now have a single focus on developing new plans to renew its leisure facilities.

“This is part of a whole suite of work, which includes planning for West Norfolk to become a ‘Marmot Place’ and the council creating a range of health, social and employment opportunities for residents to benefit from.”

Alive venues currently include Lynnsport and Alive St James in Lynn, Alive Downham, and Alive Oasis in Hunstanton.

The council periodically reviews services to ensure they continue to provide best value. In its review of the management model for Alive West Norfolk, the changes that have affected the company were considered and a number of options for the future were assessed.

This assessment demonstrated that the model now believed to offer the best outcomes is to bring Alive West Norfolk back into the council.

This has the potential for a number of benefits, including reducing costs and improving opportunities to secure capital investment.

A further proposed benefit of the proposal is that there will be no adverse impact on employees, who are already on council terms and conditions - no one will lose their job as a result of the move and their contracts will be transferred to the council.

The report suggesting the change will be considered by the council’s E&C Panel on July 16, and the council’s cabinet will then make a decision on the report on July 30.

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