Middleton Pool & Willen Road Sports Ground Newport Pagnell Town Council Press Release

Milton Keynes Council has placed two facilities in Newport Pagnell on their asset transfer programme, and these are available for organisations to bid for, as from this month. These are Middleton Pool and Willen Road Sports Ground. Newport Pagnell Town Council has been managing these facilities for 14 years, with an ever diminishing level grant funding from Milton Keynes Council. Members of the Town Council have been advised that such grant funding will be totally withdrawn on transfer of these assets. The current sum involved is £110,000 per annum. The Town Council intends to bid for ownership of these assets, despite the lack of grant funding. Middleton Pool in particular is an aging asset which does not match up to the standard of other leisure services in Milton Keynes. The Town Council has investigated various options to mitigate the lack of grant funding, and to secure the long term future of the pool, and is of the opinion that Middleton Pool needs a large injection of capital funding to provide facilities that will increase its income. Having investigated all other avenues, the Town Council is therefore seeking to go into partnership with an organisation for the purposes of financial restructuring, which will go a long way to filling the deficit caused by the removal of the support grant and will modernize the pool in several ways, not least of which will be in its approach to IT. This will be of particular benefit to those parents who current queue for hours waiting to book their children onto lessons. It should be noted that the Town Council has no intention of adding the bill of the eliminated grant funding onto residents’ precepts with Howard Casley. Another benefit of a partnership arrangement is the possibility of savings achieved through economies of scale, for example on contractual arrangements such as grass mowing at Willen Road Sports Ground, and having greater influence on purchasing negotiations. Should the Town Council attain the ownership of both facilities, it would not “sell off” the pool or Willen Road Sports Ground, and would retain a hands on approach to a partnership arrangement. The Town Council holds a long term lease on both properties which will be a factor in relation to the asset transfer programme.