STAR Hub to open on 26th of September but won’t be Council-run for long

After being without a pool for over two years, Splottlanders have less than five weeks to wait until they can get back in the water.

The new STAR Hub in Splott Park is due to open on Monday the 26th September and swimmers and splashers will be able to enjoy themselves once more in the new 25m pool, which has full disabled access.

The STAR Hub will provide fitness and activity classes, swimming lessons, meeting rooms, library services, advice services and more but won’t have a full size sports hall like the current STAR Centre.  A refurbishment of Willows High School’s gym is planned and Inksplott has been advised that local residents will be able to use the sports hall there.

The STAR Centre is due to close at 5.30 pm on the 17th September to transfer library and other services to the new STAR Hub.  Users of the library have been encouraged to use central library, Active Eastern library or Penylan library as alternatives during the nine days between one set of doors closing and the new ones opening.

To read more about the differences between the STAR Centre and STAR Hub, click here 

However, the STAR Hub, along with nearly all other leisure centres across Cardiff, is set to be managed by a third sector organisation and not Cardiff Council under recently revealed plans.

A new 15-year partnership between the City of Cardiff Council and Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) has been forged to ensure the council’s leisure centres in the Welsh Capital will remain open.

Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) is a charitable social enterprise which operates more than 200 leisure facilities across the UK and has been recommended as the preferred bidder to manage and run all but one of the council’s leisure centres, including the STAR Hub:

  • Llanishen Leisure Centre
  • Eastern Leisure Centre
  • Fairwater Leisure Centre
  • Western Leisure Centre
  • Pentwyn Leisure Centre
  • Maindy Leisure centre
  • Star Centre (Splott) the current Star Centre will close when the new Star Hub opens in Autumn 2016
  • Penylan Library and Community Centre

The following facilities will still be managed by Cardiff Council: The International Pool in Cardiff Bay Sports Village; Cardiff International White Water; Cardiff International Sports Stadium and Channel View Leisure Centre.

Cllr Peter Bradbury, Cabinet Member for Community Development, Co-Operatives and Social Enterprise, said:

“Currently the Council subsidises leisure facilities to the tune of £2.5m a year. Our budgets are being slashed and we have to look at all our non-statutory services. Providing leisure centres is not a statutory obligation. This means it’s crucial we find new partnerships and new ways of working which can deliver these types of services to the high standard our residents have become accustomed to.

“This new proposed partnership, with a highly-respected UK company will ensure that the current subsidy will be removed by 2019/20 and there will be no subsidy paid by the tax payer at all.

“Crucially, this proposed contract will ensure that Cardiff residents continue to enjoy a range of high-quality leisure services, while making the required savings due to the ongoing austerity agenda.

“We have also ensured that all workers at the centre will receive at least the Living Wage as defined by the Living Wage Foundation which is £8.25 an hour. That’s over a £1 more an hour than the national minimum wage for those over 25. All staff employed at the leisure centres will transfer to the new company under the same terms and conditions they enjoy now. The Local Government Pension Scheme is also maintained for all existing staff and any new workers employed by the company in the future.”

As part of the deal any leisure centre users who have a MAX Card will see their membership honoured for 12 months from the date of the switchover.

It is proposed that the new arrangement will come into effect by the end of this year and, according to a press release issued by the Council, will ensure that services are maintained to a high standard and that Cardiff’s leisure facilities continue to remain open, with new investment planned and additional sports provision planned in the future.

For more information on the future of leisure centres in Cardiff, click here.

For info on STAR Hub progress, click here.

To share your thoughts, use the comments box below.