In 2018 Max Associates partnered with Alliance Leisure to deliver a commercial prospectus for investment to Durham County Council.
The Council wanted to undertake an assessment of the options for the leisure facilities to meet its strategic and financial ambitions, and an appraisal of the investment needs and commercial viability of delivering these options.
Durham County Council has approved £63m leisure investment and Max Associates are now updating five of the business plans for refurbishment projects and developing new feasibility studies for three new build leisure centres.
Summary of Project
The facility portfolio included a total of 14 leisure centres across the County. The first stage in the project was to produce a needs analysis, this workstream included:
– A review of the Councils strategic outcomes and priorities
-A review of the catchment populations and projected future population growth
-Commissioned latent demand for fitness reports for all sites with fitness facilities
-Catchment analysis – including mosaic profile and age profile, maps were also produced to highlight how catchment areas overlapped.
-Consultation with key stakeholders such as Public Health, CCG, Sport England etc.
As part of the review of information the current performance of the leisure centres was assessed.
Key performance indicators across all the leisure centres were benchmarked against industry standards to understand areas of strength and weaknesses, which helped inform what investments would support income growth.
Once the context of the leisure centres and services was understood an assessment of supply was completed, this included commissioning Facility Planning Model reports for swimming pools and sports halls from Sport England and completing a competition analysis to understand both traditional leisure provision and commercial leisure (climbing, ten pin bowling etc.) in the County that could influence potential development options.
A review of the building condition surveys was also undertaken, this highlighted key findings, cost of the works required and whether the level of work required would impact the viability of investment.
Following the completion of these work streams Max Associates developed an Opportunity Matrix, which scores each centre against a range of criteria to test the investment opportunity.
The opportunity matrix was then discussed at length with the Council to agree which investment opportunities would be progressed into feasibility studies.
It was agreed that feasibility studies for 10 of the centres would be progressed.
For this next stage in the project Alliance Leisure developed facility layout plans and capital costings, whilst Max Associates developed detailed business plans for each development options. The investment opportunities ranged from simple fitness suite extensions, to sports hall conversions into commercial leisure such as TAG Active, soft play and climbing.