SOUTH Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council have been working on a leisure review for the past three years as the current leisure centre contract comes to an end this winter.

A competitive procurement exercise was agreed by both full councils last year as members considered the need for future leisure provisions.

The committees concluded that there was a need for future facilities to run in a way which delivers tangible community and health outcomes while also seeking a cost effective way of continuing the services which benefit residents across the two areas.

The leisure procurement evaluation process, award criteria and a joint procurement project were all agreed by councillors and the procurement process began in mid-2015.

Organisations interested in running the council-owned leisure centres were asked to submit their initial detailed proposals to the authorities in late 2015.

The tender includes the leisure facilities of Dartmouth Leisure Centre, The Pavilion in Totnes, the Quayside Centre in Kingsbridge, Ivybridge Leisure Centre, Meadowlands Leisure Centre in Tavistock and Parklands Leisure Centre in Okehampton.

After successful testing of the market, a strong short list of bidders has been drawn up.

The council’s say this has led to a productive dialogue with the bidders. The process being used to award a contract is a competitive dialogue – this enables bidders to work with council officers to develop their proposals.

The timetable is on track and the council’s are now in the final tender stage, with three experienced organisations being chosen to progress. The three organisations are Fusion Lifestyle, Parkwood Leisure and Sports and Leisure Management – Everyone Active.

Cllr Bastone, Portfolio Holder for Customer First, at South Hams District Council, said: “During the competitive dialogue we are not in a position to comment on any of the proposals which are put forward as these will continue to change as we move through the final stages of the project.

"We know how important leisure facilities are to our communities and they will be key to a healthy long-term partnership with the successful bidder.”

The procurement project is due to run until summer 2016 and a new contract will be awarded before the current leisure contract with Tone Leisure ends on November 30, 2016.

To keep updated about the tender process, please visit: West Devon Borough Council: .

Alan Quick