Welwyn Hatfield Council's contractor to scoop extra £44k each year

PUBLISHED: 09:35 25 November 2016

Finesse Leisure was operating the high ropes course in Welwyn Garden City in 2013

Finesse Leisure was operating the high ropes course in Welwyn Garden City in 2013

Archant

The borough council will give its leisure contractor £44k more each year, despite the leader claiming he was "disappointed" with its recent handlings.

Finesse Leisure, which runs facilities including King George V Playing Fields and Hatfield Swim Centre, will scoop the extra funding following a cabinet recommendation at Monday’s full council meeting.

Opposition councillors voiced concerns, including Hatfield South West representative John Fitzpatrick, who suggested the council bring leisure in-house, rather than continue “throwing money at a problem”.

Hatfield East member Lenny Brandon claimed “complacency reigns” with Finesse, and listed the 3G pitches, high ropes, cemetery maintenance and Hatfield Swim Centre as examples of its failings.

Lib Dem leader Malcolm Cowan said: “There’s a whole series of reasons why a lot of us don’t have very much faith in Finesse, and we don’t think that giving them more money at this stage is the right thing to do.”

Council leader, John Dean, said he was unable to defend the contractor in some instances, adding he has been “disappointed in the way Finesse has been handling things for a while now”.

However, he added: “I was chairman of leisure when Finesse first took over management of our facilities, and in that year alone we saved over £100,000, and that saving has carried on year-on-year ever since.

“So whilst I won’t argue with all the criticism they have received, I will argue that they have saved us millions of pounds over the length of their contract.”

The motion was passed with 25 votes to 20, and Finesse will get the money from the next financial year.

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