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Dolphin Centre (WO6)

Cuts

Portfolio: Leisure and Local Environment Portfolio

Futures Fund

This cut may not get implemented in full because there are proposals to include the service within the futures fund. Please visit the futures fund proposal to find out more. 

Description

Closure of Dolphin Centre, which is the Council’s major leisure facility, located in the town centre.  In excess of 900,000 people visit the Dolphin Centre per annum.  The main facilities include:

  • 25 metre eight-lane pool
  • Small toddler pool
  • Diving pool with boards
  • 25 metre four-lane training pool
  • Two water slides
  • Main sports hall (eight badminton courts size)
  • Three squash courts
  • Fitness suite
  • Soft play studio
  • Small multi-purpose studio
  • Number of meeting/seminar rooms
  • Two wedding suites
  • Major catering facilities
  • Central Hall multi-purpose space
  • The facility is also a base 36 clubs/societies

Impact

Closure of the Dolphin Centre would have a significant impact on the Council’s ability to narrow the health gap as a significant proportion of the population use the Dolphin Centre on a regular basis.  The town centre economy would suffer if the Dolphin Centre was closed as there are over 900,000 visits to the Dolphin Centre per annum, of which a significant number of these are dual visits to both the town centre and the Dolphin Centre.  Alongside this, the overall negative economic impact of a major town centre building being boarded up and closed in a prime location until such times as it could be demolished or sold. 

There are a range of other providers in the town for a number of activities provided at the Dolphin Centre, such as gym, soft play, sports hall, catering, function/meeting space, however losing the swimming pool complex would have a significant impact as there is not the capacity within other pools in the Borough.  Residents would have to travel to Durham, Stockton, Richmond and further afield. 

The Council has recently invested approximately £3million in refurbishing the mechanical and electrical installations within the Dolphin Centre, which the majority of that is associated with the pool complex.  There is further M&E work to be done, capital to the value of approximately £2million will be required. 

The proposal includes funding for demotion of the building if an alternative use cannot be identified.

Note

Closure of the Centre will mean the town centre location for the Healthy Hub is not available; however this service is being stopped via proposals within the Public Health budget.

Link

W06 Dolphin Centre

Related FAQs

Why keep the Dolphin Centre – more people would want to save the library and market first?

Why keep the Dolphin Centre – more people would want to save the library and market first?

Unfortunately the lack of funding means the Council must take some very tough decisions and they have proposed that keeping the Dolphin Centre is important to the borough and it can be kept open at the same time as maintaining a town centre library. In terms of the market, as stated earlier it is not closing. It is hoped the recent announcement – that the Council is working with traders to identify a partner to take over the management of the market – will put an end to incorrect speculation that it will close. Closure of the Dolphin Centre would have a significant impact on the Council’s ability to narrow the health gap as a significant proportion of the population use the Dolphin Centre on a regular basis. You can, of course, suggest an alternative to be considered.

Has a full options appraisal been carried out to review how the Dolphin Centre could be made sustainable, which includes an option that doesn't include re-locating the library? If not, why not?

Has a full options appraisal been carried out to review how the Dolphin Centre could be made sustainable, which includes an option that doesn't include re-locating the library? If not, why not?

The Dolphin Centre has been subject to a number of reviews leading to significant reductions in operating costs in previous budget rounds.   A full option appraisal was carried out in 2012 considering the establishment of a Trust, working with other Councils and the private sector and the result of this was to continue to operate in house and continue to look for other options to reduce net costs.

What are the estimated relocation and capital costs of putting the library in the Dolphin Centre? How is it proposed this is funded?  From receipts of the sale of Cockerton and/or Crown Street or general funds?

What are the estimated relocation and capital costs of putting the library in the Dolphin Centre? How is it proposed this is funded?  From receipts of the sale of Cockerton and/or Crown Street or general funds?

The estimated cost of relocation of the Library is £1.1m this amount allows for the structural changes required and full fit out of the library.  We intend to produce a mixture of modern vibrant areas together with more traditional elements hopefully recycling some of the elements of Crown Street into the latter. There is an additional amount included in the MTFP of £600,000 to replace plant and equipment in the Dolphin Centre which will be undertaken at the same time to remove the need for more interruption to provision at another time.  The £1.7m is to be funded by prudential borrowing and will be repaid from within the Library and Dolphin Centre budgets and this repayment is taken into account when calculating the savings from the relocation of the library.

Can you clarify the costs of the remodelled Dolphin Centre? On your website it says £779k , but in the One Darlington magazine (March) p.22, it says £1.7million, which is the correct figure please?

Can you clarify the costs of the remodelled Dolphin Centre? On your website it says £779k , but in the One Darlington magazine (March) p.22, it says £1.7million, which is the correct figure please?

The estimated cost of relocation of the Library is £1.1m.  There is an additional amount included in the MTFP of £600,000 to replace plant and equipment in the Dolphin Centre which will be undertaken at the same time to remove the need for more interruption to provision at another time.  The £1.7m is to be funded by borrowing (subject to Local Authority rules). The repayment costs will be repaid from the gross relocation savings and are included before the net saving of £300,000.

The £779,000 referred to on the website is the annual running costs for the remodelled Dolphin Centre. 

Your Say

5 comment(s)

This table lists comments from the public about this proposal

Comment

Cut W06 (Dolphin Centre)

The Dolphin Centre is a jewel in the crown of Darlington. Closing it would decrease foot fall in the town and has the potential of increasing the burdon on general and mental health services. Also so much money has already been spent on it that closing it would be a total waste of public funds. Please keep it open. If not our town centre will lose another part of its character and is in danger of degeneration - as has happened to other local town centres.

Cut W06 (Dolphin Centre)

This would be a disaster for the town. This is a first rate council facility.

Cut W06 (Dolphin Centre)

If the ambition for Darlington is to attract and sustain a place to live, visit and work, not having a key facility in my view will be detrimental to both economic growth and the health and wellbeing for people in Darlington. I agree with the proposals to move the Library maybe at the sacrifice of the Healthy Living hub for example or even meeting rooms, and social areas, but at the expense of a pool and gym/related facilities is a backward move for Darlington. Whilst there may be other facilities in the town, not everyone can either access these, or easily access them. So, what other options have been considered to keep the facilities in place? What about increasing fees, or charging more for use of facilities, reducing availability of services rather than cutting them would surely save money? How can it be good to demolish a building that has also received £2m investment? PS - It is not clear if the Future Fund proposal includes any leisure facilities at all (pool/gym etc).

Cut W06 (Dolphin Centre)

A town the size of Darlington MUST HAVE a leisure centre. It draws people from across the area and those who work here use it on a lunchtime.
It would be a backward step to close it. The Town Centre will die completely. Creative marketing is essential to get people in. The Cafe open at 8am is great for those of us going to work.

DO NOT CLOSE THE DOLPHIN CENTRE

Cut W02 (Eastbourne Sports Complex Break Even)
Cut W06 (Dolphin Centre)
Cut S09 (Obesity Management)

I am a carer for a lady with MS. I have over the past few months be taking this lady to Eastbourne Sports Centre on a Wednesday, where she meets with the MS Group and does excercises with the staff. She thoroughly enjoys this and as a result has enrolled in the gym at the Dolphin Centre and has one to one with [...] on a Tuesday and every other Friday. This again she enjoys. Taking her to both these places has also encouraged myself and my daughter to join the gym. [...] and the other staff, [...] just to name another couple, really help to keep the spirits up of, not only the MS Group but myself as a carer and gym goer. As it has come to my attention that these staff are to be made redundant I felt the need to let you know of my disappointment. They are a great help both physically and mentally to all who come into contact with them. For myself and my daughter, we both need to lose some weight and we were not made to feel in any way inadequate because of our weight, but encouraged. These people would be a great loss to the facilities that you have at the Dolphin Centre and I hope enough people sing their praises to get this decision reversed.