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Redditch Borough Councillors are set to decide whether to put together a ‘full business case’ to create a Local Authority Trading Company, or LATC, to operate council leisure facilities.

The proposed LATC would be a separate company set up and solely owned by the borough council to run its facilities such as the Redditch Palace Theatre, the Abbey Stadium, Pitcheroak Golf Course, Forge Mill Needle Museum and Bordesley Abbey, community centres, and allotments.

It would be required to help more people get more active more often, while leaving all land and buildings in the hands of the borough council - which would also retain influence over strategy, pricing and programming. It would deliver significant savings and protect the pensions and terms and conditions of existing staff.

Borough councillors are now set to consider whether to proceed with making a business case for the proposed LATC at the November 20 meeting of the Full Council, after it was recommended by the Executive Committee.

Cllr Pat Witherspoon, Redditch Borough Council’s portfolio holder for Leisure and Cultural Services, said: “We know we need an innovative solution for our local leisure and culture services, to ensure these jewels in Redditch’s crown continue to shine for years to come whilst responding to the budget pressures that we face as a council. On top of that we’ve listened to the almost 1700 people who responded to our big survey about the provision of leisure services, where a majority of people wanted their council to be involved.

“That’s why we have recommended this LATC approach, a local authority trading company, for the council to consider. The evidence points to it being our best way to achieve all these things for Redditch.”

The move comes after councillors decided in February to explore alternative models for leisure provision, in a bid to make savings of over £400,000 a year from next year under continued reductions in public spending.

As a result an independent agency, V4, which has facilitated 23 new local authority leisure operating models, was employed to score four models against a list of the borough council’s priorities. The results, a summary of which is published, saw the LATC option score the highest mark of 82.4 compared to 66.4 for continuing to run the services wholly in-house, 67.2 for a trust or charitable operator, and 69.4 for a private sector operator.

At the same time the borough council carried out a major survey of people’s views on the matter. The 1669 survey responses, a summary of which is also published, showed a majority of people believed the council should continue to play a role in leisure provision.

Members of the Executive Committee subsequently recommended, at their meeting of October 31, that the council consider the LATC option in principle and make the business case.