Revenue From New Sports Facilities Falling Short

Councillors have been told that the new sports hall and multi-use games (MUGA) area are bringing in less income than expected.

The figures, discussed at Thursday’s Community Services meeting, show that the MUGA made only £1,150 to the end of August, against a predicted £4,369. Only £150 was collected in pitch fees, representing just six bookings.

The sports hall is also showing a shortfall of £7,153, although the swimming pool is performing as expected.

Council spokesman, George Pearson, told us the income for the MUGA has increased by a further £333 in September following a five-week block booking.

Community Services chair, Richard McCarthy, said the numbers using the facilities were well above those predicted by Sport England, who funded much of the work.

He said their target for the sports hall in the first year was 3,000 individual visits, whereas there had actually been 5,400 since its January opening.

But Richard admitted they’d overestimated the revenue expected from summer holidaymakers.

Cllr Christine Savill said she was surprised by the low usage of the MUGA, especially during the summer months and she said it was unlikely the budget will recover over the winter.

She had also heard concerns expressed over the quality of some of the equipment supplied.

Director of Adult and Children’s Services, Penny Penn-Howard said much of that is still under warranty and is being replaced, but it’s taking some time.

Ms Penn-Howard also highlighted the grant conditions attached to use of the MUGA, which meant children have priority. She says this could have affected the numbers.

The Sports Management Group, which includes reps from both the school and community, as well as the Council, will be meeting on Monday and Cllr McCarthy says one of the items on the agenda will be ways of improving the marketing of the sports hall and other facilities to visitors.


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