Hertsmere Leisure Trust (HLT), which manages Hertsmere Borough Council’s leisure contract, has given notice to end its arrangement to operate Bushey Country Club and Bushey Community Centre on the High Street from 1 April 2018.
Hertsmere Leisure Trust informed the council that the last five years of on-going losses on the country club’s management contract have made the operational delivery untenable, especially with the last financial year’s losses in the region of £685,000 which is the equivalent of around 10 per cent of our council tax requirement.
This leaves HLT with no alternative but to rescind the contractual agreement for the country club, in order to maintain the trust’s development and investment in other Hertsmere Borough Council facilities and enable it to continue to operate as a charitable concern.
Councillor Morris Bright, Leader of Hertsmere Borough Council, said: “Whilst we are disappointed to announce that Bushey Country Club and community centre will be closing in the spring, we are working with Hertsmere Leisure Trust, which runs leisure facilities on our behalf, to ensure there are adequate leisure and community facilities in Bushey and the surrounding area.
“As well as exploring continued provision of leisure facilities, we’re also giving consideration to the best future use of the building and grounds. No decisions have been taken about the future of the site and we will look to consult with stakeholders and residents in due course about any proposals.
“We have a responsibility to our residents to get good value from the assets that we own and the decision to close this facility has been made as a result of continued unsustainable financial losses by Hertsmere Leisure Trust.”
David Brame, HLT’s Chief Executive, said: “In recent years Hertsmere Leisure Trust have worked extremely hard to improve the performance of Bushey Country Club, the golf course and Bushey Community Centre.
"However, despite making numerous investments and improvements, it is with extreme disappointment that the difficult decision has been made to end the arrangement to operate these facilities.
"Hertsmere Leisure Trust are committed to ensure that everything possible is done to minimise the impact of the closure on the local community and provide alternative options for existing customers of the country club including the investment in other facilities locally in partnership with Hertsmere Borough Council.”
Although Bushey Country Club, golf course and the community centre are three separate facilities, they occupy the same building sharing on-site facilities, as well as integrated building structure and joint management. This means that following the closure of the country club, the community centre and golf course will also close.
Officers from Hertsmere Borough Council are working with the leisure trust to mitigate the impact of the closure. The leisure trust, in consultation with Hertsmere Borough Council, is proposing to re-provide facilities, where possible, at alternative local venues such as Bushey Grove Leisure Centre.
As part of this relocation programme there are investment proposals to make improvements at the other council owned leisure facilities, such as Bushey Grove Leisure Centre. This includes extending the gym to accommodate the fitness members from the country club and the provision of additional community spaces.
The community centre provides room facilities for ‘outreach customer service’ from 9.30am to 2pm on Tuesdays and as a drop-in for Hertfordshire Constabulary following the closure of Bushey Police Station. Options are currently being explored to relocate these services locally.
Posted on Friday 5th January 2018