Palacetheatre 360X250

A new era for Redditch’s highest profile public leisure and cultural attractions has been hailed as a ‘bright new dawn’ for the town by Redditch Borough Council’s portfolio holder for leisure and tourism.

Rubicon Leisure Limited, the borough council’s new arms-length, not-for-profit ‘Local Authority Trading Company’, will take over the running of the Redditch Palace Theatre, the Abbey Stadium, Pitcheroak Golf Course, Forge Mill Needle Museum and Bordesley Abbey, as well as the town’s community centres, in December. The services had been run directly by the borough council.

The move comes after a more than year-long process. That process saw the council consider options for alternative, more sustainable delivery methods for its leisure services that would ensure them a bright future against a backdrop of Town Hall budget pressures.

As part of that a local survey had shown public opinion to be against privatisation, and for retaining public ownership of the town’s assets and service delivery, which is what the council ultimately settled on.

Cllr Mike Rouse, Redditch Borough Council’s portfolio holder for leisure and tourism, said: "The people of Redditch were clear they don't want our leisure services to be privatised - and they are not. Rubicon is entirely owned by the council, which means it is ultimately still owned by the public, but it now has far greater freedom from bureaucracy to be more innovative, creative, and better in-touch with the fast-moving world of what people really want to do in their leisure time.

“It’s ours, it has a public service remit, and it also has a degree of business freedom and incentive to innovate and grow while it goes about doing its good work. It doesn’t actually take any profits though – any surplus money it does make can only go back into investing in services or reducing the cost to the council.

"This is a bright new dawn for unlocking leisure services across Redditch, for providing good quality jobs and careers for the people who work in the service, and for improving health, fitness and culture outcomes for our town."

The final decision to make the change was taken by Redditch Borough Council on September 17, which led to the creation of Rubicon Leisure Ltd. The new company’s strapline is ‘unlocking leisure’.

Rubicon Leisure is now expected to take over delivery of the borough council’s services on December 1, with relevant council staff already in the process of transferring to the new company.