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Decision details

Sheffield Football Hubs

Decision Maker: Co-operative Executive

Decision status: For Determination

Is Key decision?: Yes

Purpose:

COVID-19 had a significant impact on the operation of the Sheffield Football Hubs. This resulted in the exit of Pulse Soccer as the operator and their sub-contractor, Leisure United were engaged as temporary operator. for the football hub sites at Thorncliffe, Graves and Westfield until June 2022.

A solution is needed to safeguard the investment in Sheffield. Sheffield City Council and the Football Foundation have undertaken significant due diligence with the funding partners the FA (Football Association), the Premier League and Sport England to find a sustainable long term operating solution.

 

The Sheffield Football Hubs Report will be seeking approval to progress with a new management and operational model for our four football facility sites in Sheffield in partnership with the National Football Trust.

 

Doing nothing is not an option. The current interim arrangements come to an end in June 2022 and how the facilities will be managed and operated must be reviewed. 

The Council knows how important our football facilities are to the people of Sheffield, especially post Covid-19 and the health and wellbeing of residents is a priority.  It is therefore critical that a long-term sustainable management arrangement is put in place to secure the future of the facilities. The proposed future partnership with the National Football Trust aims to create a network of sustainable, high-quality facilities for the long term.

 

The proposed capital spending of around £2m into community football facilities in Darnall will have a significant impact on participation levels, health and the social/community benefits of football.

Decision:

14.1

The report sought approval to enter into a 25 year lease arrangement for two sites at Westfield and Woodbourn Road and to enter into negotiations regarding the existing Sheffield Football Trust leases for Graves and Thorncliffe which had 45 years remaining to the National Football Trust. 

 

In addition, the report sought approval to develop Woodbourn Road as a fourth football hub site, this would include granting a 25-year lease to the National Football Trust and approval to accept £2.1m investment from the Football Foundation into the site.

 

 

14.2

RESOLVED: That Co-operative Executive:-

 

 

1.      Note and endorse the work done by officers to date;

 

2.      Approve the inclusion of Woodbourn Road Football Facility as a Football Hub site as proposed in this report and:

 

(a)  approve acceptance of the proposed £2.1m grant funding from the Football Foundation for the capital costs of the Facility; 

 

(b)  delegate to the Executive Director of Resources/ Director of Culture and Environment in consultation with the Director of Legal and Governance the authority to enter into appropriate grant funding agreements for the Facility;

 

(c)  note that a capital approval submission will be submitted for the necessary authority to undertake and procure the proposed works and award the contract for work at the Facility in accordance with Council procedures;

 

3.      Delegate to the Executive Director of Place in consultation with the Director of Culture and Environment, the Director of Legal and Governance and the Chief Property Officer the authority to enter into all necessary property related legal documentation for the purposes of delivering the property related outcomes set out in the report;

 

4.      Delegate to the Executive Director of Place in consultation with the Director of Culture and Environment and the Director of Legal and Governance the authority to enter into the collaboration agreement and any further necessary commercial legal documentation for the purposes of delivering the outcomes set out in the report; and

 

5.      Delegate to the Director of Culture and Environment in consultation with the Director of Legal and Governance and the Director of Finance the authority to take such steps as they deem appropriate to achieve the outcomes set out in the report.

 

 

14.3

Reasons for Decision

 

 

14.3.1

The investment into new and improved facilities would help to attract and retain increased participation and usage of venues.  Improved facilities would better meet customer expectations of a modern and welcoming grassroots football offer. This would help to reduce barriers to participation and encourage more people to be more active, more often. It was therefore critical that a long-term management solution is put in place to secure the future of the Sheffield Football Hubs.

 

 

14.4

Alternatives Considered and Rejected

 

 

14.4.1

Do Nothing

Doing nothing is not an option. The current arrangement with Leisure United would come to an end in June 2022 and the facilities themselves require significant investment just to remain open and functioning.  Without investment facilities would continue to decline and eventually close.

 

 

14.4.2

Bring Services In-house

The in-house option was not financially viable as it would be more expensive and present a greater level of financial uncertainty and risk to the Council.  They would not allow for the level of investment needed for the Council to offer significantly improved leisure facilities.

 

 

14.4.3

Procurement Exercise

The Council would not be able to put all four sites out to tender because the current arrangement for the Graves and Thorncliffe sites sit with the Sheffield Football Trust (SFT), who entered into 50 year lease arrangement with the Council in 2016.  Whilst the Council can agree for the SFT to assign the leases to the NFT (as included in this proposal) the Council cannot put the Graves and Thorncliffe facilities out to tender.   

 

 

14.5

Any Interest Declared or Dispensation Granted

 

 

 

None

 

 

14.6

Reason for Exemption if Public/Press Excluded During Consideration

 

 

 

None

 

 

14.7

Respective Director Responsible for Implementation

 

 

 

Executive Director, Operational Services

 

 

14.8

Relevant Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee If Decision Called In

 

 

 

Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee

 

Report author: Lisa Firth

Publication date: 22/04/2022

Date of decision: 20/04/2022

Decided at meeting: 20/04/2022 - Co-operative Executive

Effective from: 29/04/2022

Accompanying Documents: