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Issue - decisions

Provision of Grant Funding for Sheffield City Trust, to allow Ponds Forge to Re-Open

24/09/2020 - Provision of Grant Funding for Sheffield City Trust, to allow Ponds Forge to Re-Open*


The Executive Director, Resources, submitted a report reviewing the decision taken on 11th August 2020 regarding the re-opening of leisure

facilities and recommending an additional package of funding support to Sheffield City Trust (SCT) in order to enable the Trust to reopen Ponds Forge.


The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on SCT ability to generate income from events at Ponds Forge and without additional funding from Sheffield City Council it will not be possible to re-open Ponds Forge.




RESOLVED: That Cabinet, after considering the detail in the report, approves:-



additional funding to Sheffield City Trust (SCT) of up to £1.6m for the remainder of 2020-21, this will need to be funded from reserves.;




the payment to Sheffield City Trust by way of grant or loan an additional sum of up to £1.6m to enable the reopening of Ponds Forge;




the Council entering into revised security arrangements with SCT and Sheffield International Venues (SIV); and



further consideration of the opening of Ponds Forge and other venues to be dealt with as part of two future reports to Cabinet on the Leisure and Entertainment Strategy and the Council’s Medium Term Financial Plan and Budget for 2020/21.




Reasons for Decision




The financial support to SCT to re-open Ponds Forge will allow an

increased range of facilities to re-open and will contribute to the health and wellbeing of residents.




Alternatives Considered and Rejected




The alternative options considered included keeping Ponds Forge

closed. In conjunction with SCT, Sheffield City Council is currently developing the future strategy for leisure and entertainment in the city and as part of that work is looking at areas for potential investment. There was an option to assess the potential to accelerate improvement works at Ponds Forge whilst the venue remained closed as this would avoid disruption in the future. However following consideration this option was ruled out because it was felt that re-opening Ponds Forge during 2020/21 would potentially help to restart the city centre economy, support students returning to the city, provide access for disability groups and other community users (226k visits per year) as well as a number of clubs and groups. Considering the wider implications of keeping this facility closed, particularly the impact on community groups that rely on this facility, along with the need to get our city centre moving again, means that we are making a recommendation to provide funding for the remainder of the financial year 2020-2021 to re-open the facility to all users.


A further option to open Ponds Forge for only club use was also

considered. This option was ruled out as it did not provide equality of

access for a wide range of users of Ponds Forge. The cost of this option

was estimated at £90k per month (excluding lifecycle costs), with the

clubs contributing c£30k and the Council needing to contribute the

remaining £60k. This option was not supported due to the relatively small

number of users it would support.




Any Interest Declared or Dispensation Granted








Reason for Exemption if Public/Press Excluded During Consideration



The appendix to the report is not for publication by virtue of Regulation 20(2) Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 because, in the opinion of the proper officer, it contains exempt information under Paragraphs 3 and 5  of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) and the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.




Respective Director Responsible for Implementation




Eugene Walker, Executive Director, Resources.




Relevant Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee If Decision Called In




Economic and Environmental Wellbeing Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee.