Leisure facility to be brought back under control of Mid Ulster Council

Greenvale Leisure Centre
Greenvale Leisure Centre

Mid Ulster District Council has agreed to bring Greenvale Leisure Centre back under its operational control.

The Magherafelt centre, which has been managed by Pulse Fitness since September 2012, will revert back to the Council from September 10 this year.

In a statement the Council said: "The decision supports the Council’s overall improvement agenda for leisure, prioritising the importance of harmonising service standards and pricing across all Mid Ulster facilities, as well as ultimately ensuring all staff working in leisure will enjoy the same terms and conditions.

"The Council will also now undertake a review of the overall leisure provision in Mid Ulster in conjunction with a strategic partner and at the same time consider options for future operational arrangements.

" Pulse has been notified of the decision and work will now begin to ensure a smooth transition for staff and customers."

Sinn Féin, the largest party on the council, indicated a few years ago that it would not support the privatisation of more leisures centres in Mid Ulster.

Hugh Scullion, from the Workers Party in Mid Ulster, welcomed the decision to bring the facility back under public control.

The Workers Party were opposed to the privatisation of the £9.2m Leisure Centre by the then Sinn Féin led Magherafelt District Council in 2012.

In a statement Mr Scullion said: "A report from the Northern Ireland Audit Office in 2013 found the privatisation had not represented value for money for ratepayers. The Workers Party were particularly critical of the redundancies to the staff who then had to apply for their jobs at a reduced rate of pay. Indeed Pulse Fitness refused to recognise Trade Union membership for staff.

"In October 2016 the Workers Party held a picket and took up a petition outside the Greenvale leisure Centre following a decision by Greenvale to withdraw individual support during swimming lessons to children with disabilities. It was obvious that the Greenvale Leisure Centre and Pulse Fitness prioritise profit over the welfare of its patrons.

"In keeping with our policies of maintaining public control of essential services, the Workers Party welcomes the reversal of this privatisation as a victory for the rate payers and those who use the Greenvale Leisure Centre. We will continue to campaign for the restoration of services to the disabled and equal rates of pay across Mid Ulster Councils leisure facilities."