Edinburgh council firm could run Stirling sport facilities

Edinburgh Leisure is in the running to win the contract. Picture: Jane Barlow

Edinburgh Leisure is in the running to win the contract. Picture: Jane Barlow

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SPORTS facilities in Stirling could be taken over by an organisation linked to Edinburgh City Council.

Arms-length trust Edinburgh Leisure is among about five public and private bodies considering bids for the contract currently held by Active Stirling - Stirling council’s commercial leisure organisation.

Edinburgh Leisure was set up by Edinburgh City Council there to run leisure facilities in the Capital.

Today a spokesman for the organisation said they were currently reviewing the tender documentation for Stirling’s facilities, which include The Peak swimming pool, gymnasium, and climbing centre, adding: “We have expressed an interest in the tender. There is the obvious fit with our purpose which is to make a positive difference to communities by creating opportunities for everyone to get active, stay active and achieve more areas of expertise.”

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The spokesman said they had “organisational knowledge and expertise in delivering and developing quality physical activity experiences to a variety of communities”.

Its interest in annexing Stirling’s sports hubs has dismayed insiders within Stirling Council. They say they fear facilities in the Stirling area could become the” poor relations” of the Edinburgh trust, if they win the contract.

There is further anxiety over possible cuts in services and programmes and job losses if any of the private bidders is successful.

Edinburgh Leisure was set up in 1998 to manage and develop sporting and leisure facilities on behalf of the council there. It also has social enterprise status, employs 800 staff and has a £30 million turnover.

Stirling Council decided earlier this year to put out to tender the contract to run the Stirling leisure trust which employs about 200 people and runs facilities such as the £27.3 million Peak sports centre and Stirling Sports Village.

Active Stirling was set up in 2006 and run the area’s sports facilities on behalf of Stirling Council, but its £1.3 million contract with the authority is running out.

Representatives of Edinburgh Leisure and Glasgow Life --the organisation which runs leisure facilities there - discussed the tender at a fact-finding meeting in Stirling during the summer.

However, it is understood that Glasgow Life will not be submitting a tender. Applicants have until November 4 to submit to the council their full tender proposal.

A spokesman for Stirling Council said: “As we are currently going through the tender process, we are unable to discuss any details until the new contract is operating, which should be April of next year.”