Portsmouth’s leisure facilities are set for more than £1m worth of new investment after the City Council awarded South Coast venue operator BH Live a 10-year contract to manage six venues in the city.
Management of Mountbatten Leisure Centre, Portsmouth Gymnastics Centre, Portsmouth Tennis Centre, Eastney Swimming Pool, Wimbledon Park Sports Centre and Charter Community Sports Centre will transfer to cultural trust BH Live on 1 February 2017.
The BH Live portfolio includes the Bournemouth International Centre and Bournemouth Pavilion and the trust also already works with the Portsmouth City Council managing Pyramids in Southsea, one of the region’s largest leisure and event venues.
Since 2013, the trust’s investment in Pyramid significantly increased activity participation and improved event programming.
The change in management is expected to mean significant savings for the council as it will no longer have to subsidise the facilities.
Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, Cllr. Linda Symes described the deal as “an exciting move for the city” and one that would “reinvigorate the six centres involved”.
“BH Live has successfully managed the Pyramids under some challenging conditions and extending that relationship can only be a positive thing,” the councillor said.
Peter Gunn (pictured), BH Live’s chief executive, said the trust was “delighted” to extend its offer across Portsmouth and to work closely with the council to create a more active city.
“Improving the health and wellbeing of communities through physical activity, promoting major events and boosting sports development are high on our agenda, as is improving the overall quality of services, supporting the local economy and contributing to environmental improvements,” said Gunn.
More than £1m investment has been committed by the trust to improve the venues and create new and exciting facilities and activities under its BH Live Active, Events and Hospitality brands.
BH Live will also look at the programming of events across the venues to maximise on sporting and cultural attendance and generating business tourism. It will also bring in catering expertise from its hospitality division operation currently operating in London and the South East.