Hounslow Council ends leisure centre contract with Fusion

9 September, 2020 / by Matt Smith

Hounslow Council has announced that they have decided to end their contract with Fusion Lifestyle, bringing the operation of the borough’s leisure centres and public halls in-house.

Following discussions between Fusion Lifestyle and the Council, LB Jouinslow’s Cabinet decided on Tuesday 8 September 2020 to manage the borough’s leisure centres by Lampton 360, a trading company wholly owned by the Council.

According to a statement from LB Hounslow, the mutually agreed decision means that the Council, along with Lampton 360, will take over the operational running of the borough’s leisure services from 1 November 2020, with a phased approach to reopening services during November.

The borough’s public halls will now be managed within the Environment, Culture and Customer Services Directorate. All staff who are transferred to Lampton 360, and the Council, from Fusion Lifestyle will receive at least the London Living Wage.

The Council and Lampton 360 have previous experience of having to take back control over services which have been contracted out. When Carillion collapsed, both the council’s public libraries and parks were brought back in-house in a similar fashion.

Bedford leisure centre ‘like Chernobyl’

Fusion Lifestyle is clearly struggling with the upkeep of leisure centres in other council jurisdictions. The Oasis Beach Pool in Bedford, which is run by the company, has yet to reopen since the ending of lockdown.

Pictures of the pool on social media show it in a state of disrepair, with broken tiles and uneven surfaces. One social media commentator said it “wouldn’t look out of place in Chernobyl”.

Fusion, which runs the local authority’s gyms and pools, has said it could not open The Oasis Beach Pool unless Bedford Council helped financially.

Image above: Oasis Beach Pool in Bedford (source: BBC News)

Braintree District Council signed off on an extra £700,000 in August for Fusion to keep their leisure centres open. Fusion Lifestyle’s regional business manager Carl Bentley said in a statement:

“The Covid-19 crisis has had a huge financial impact on our sector and footfall and income is projected to be significantly down over the next year while we operate within the new guidelines.”

‘Mutual consent’

Here in Hounslow, the Cabinet Member for Leisure Services, Councillor Samia Chaudhary, said:

“We apologise for the delay in being able to reopen our leisure centres and public halls, we know this has been a hugely frustrating time for our members and users of these services.

“It has been agreed by mutual consent between Fusion Lifestyle and Hounslow Council that from 1 November 2020 the Leisure Centres will be run by Lampton 360, the Council’s trading company and the Public Halls by the Council.

“We will move the services and staff as quickly as possible and therefore, we anticipate that services will reopen in a phased way during November, providing that Government guidelines to be Covid-secure can be met.

“To make sure this can happen as seamlessly as possible all staff from Fusion Lifestyle who deliver the Hounslow services are likely to be transferred to Lampton 360 and Hounslow Council respectively through a Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) arrangement.”

Image above: Councillor Samia Chaudhary

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