Councillors to vote tonight on plans to overhaul Harrogate leisure centres
A key vote over the management of Harrogate's leisure centres is due to take place tonight (Wednesday).
At a meeting of full council this evening, the borough's Conservative cabinet will attempt to push through plans to hand over control of the district's 11 leisure venues to a Local Authority Controlled Company (LACC).
Tory leaders have hailed the proposals as a "vision for the future", saying it will give savings of around £400,000 a year in business rates relief and VAT benefits.
But opposition Lib Dem councillors say they will refuse to give their support unless concerns over customer charges, staffing and how the company would be run can be addressed.
Opposition leader Coun Pat Marsh said: "We need to be assured that the Local Authority Controlled Company (LACC) has the right constitution from the beginning to make sure for now and the future that the LACC delivers an affordable, quality service that respects the pay and conditions of all staff and there is continued investment in the leisure facilities.”
As part of the proposals revealed last month, the council is also looking to borrow £23million of government cash to upgrade its centres and build a new swimming pool and gym in Knaresborough.
If the plans are approved, the company - to be called Brimham's Active - would be launched by August 2021.
Some 400 members of staff would also be transferred across to the LACC.
And six council members would be given decision making roles as non-executive directors, alongside three company appointments.
Meetings of the company would not be held in public.
Coun Stanley Lumley, Conservative cabinet member for culture, tourism and sport, previously said of the plan: "It is an exciting venture and vision for the future of our service at Harrogate Borough Council.
"This is clearly going to be a benefit to all and that includes the staff working for the new company, as well as the residents."
The meeting will start at 5.30pm and can be viewed on the council's Youtube channel.
By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter
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