Richmond Swimming Pool set to be taken on by new council

Aquafit at Richmond Swimming Pool.

Richmond Swimming Pool looks set to be taken over by the new North Yorkshire Council.

A new “joined-up approach” for council-owned leisure venues in the county will be considered by councillors next week with a focus on unifying services for customers.

The recommended proposals would see leisure centres owned by North Yorkshire’s former district and borough councils taken in-house by the unitary authority.

If approved, the change would mean Richmond Swimming Pool, which is currently operated by Richmondshire Leisure Trust, run by North Yorkshire Council in the future.

The may not happen for several years however as the leisure trust has a contract until the end of March 2027 to operate the pool.

There would be a particular emphasis on the needs of people who face barriers to participation as well as providing opportunities to work in greater partnership with the NHS, social care and community organisations.

The proposed approach would promote the role physical activity plays in promoting a healthy lifestyle, and it is hoped that this would help to reduce pressure on services.

The recommendations follow the first phase of the council’s strategic leisure review, which has been shaped by input from communities and sports groups, as well as stakeholders including Sport England and North Yorkshire Sport. A cross-party working group of councillors visited sites throughout North Yorkshire and their feedback also informed the proposals.

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for culture, arts and housing, Cllr Simon Myers, said: “The strategic leisure review provides us with an exciting opportunity to transform the delivery of our leisure service and improve outcomes for communities across North Yorkshire.

“What we are recommending puts us at the forefront of a national movement to transform services with a renewed focus on physical and mental health and wider well-being.”

Richmondshire Leisure Trust General Manager Austin Gordon said he was monitor the outcome of the discussions at county hall, adding: “We as an organisation would welcome new arrangements with North Yorkshire Council that would deliver the best outcome for the facilities.”

North Yorkshire Council’s transition overview and scrutiny committee, which is due to meet on Monday, December 4, will be asked to support the consolidation of the entire leisure service into a single in-house model during the next four years.

The report to the committee also seeks support for a leisure investment strategy, progressing work already undertaken during recent asset condition surveys at the leisure centres.

This will look at the condition of each site, its future role and sustainability as part of the new delivery model. Feedback from the committee will be used to shape the final recommendations which will be considered by the council’s executive in January.