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Follow the series


1. Scoping / Investigation 2. Conceptualisation 3. Viability assessment & full feasibility


4. Site investigation 5. Fixed price contracts 6. Overseeing the building work 7. Ordering phase 8. Client support (part 1) 9. Client support (part 2)


Ruthin Centre: About to reach 500 members


VIABILITY ASSESSMENT & FULL FEASIBILITY


How do you assess whether your desired leisure scheme is viable, and where do you go from there? Alliance Leisure’s Sarah Watts explains why this early part of the process is key to future success.


How do you begin to assess the viability of a leisure scheme? We meet the client at the stage they’re at – some may have started to develop a plan and want to know if their scheme could be viable, while others are starting with an under-used space – often something like a number of ageing sports courts – and want to explore potential opportunities to increase revenue.


What is the approach used by Alliance Leisure? In these times of reduced subsidy, it’s really all about the money and the space. How much additional revenue can be generated from the square footage that needs to be transformed?


For example, in one scheme


we completed there was great controversy among the local senior population, because the council wanted to do away with the indoor bowls rinks (used mostly for just fi ve months of the year) and create a 10-pin bowling facility. Obviously you do have to think what


else you can provide for the older age group, but the reality was that the same amount of space went from generating £38k a year to £300k a year. That large boost in revenue may in


turn allow a leisure site to broaden its social offering to different groups, making it more inclusive – ultimately protecting the service.


CASE STUDY – Feasibility at Ruthin Leisure Centre


After a £1.4m revamp managed by Alliance Leisure, Ruthin Leisure Centre in Denbighshire opened its new facilities in September 2013. Additions to the centre, which is attached to a local school, include a new all-weather pitch, and an extension with a new reception area, changing rooms and gym. The feasibility report indicated a


latent demand of 675 new users. After affordability was assessed, the decision was made to work to a business plan of


475 members. Julia Goddard, business development manager for Alliance Leisure, says: “There was a target of 350 new members prior to opening, and our team actually sold 400. One month later the centre is about to reach 500 members. “This puts a really good revenue


stream in place right from the outset, plus our schemes almost always exceed the latent demand predictions within six to nine months.”


46 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital Ruthin Leisure Centre: Exceeding targets November/December 2013 © Cybertrek 2013


What are the most ‘viable’ leisure options these days? That’s not something you can really state or quantify – it depends on the individual site, and local demand and needs. A 10-pin bowling facility may be a huge success for one leisure site but not for another. That’s where thorough viability and feasibility studies will pay dividends. For example, we’re currently


talking to a client who wants to put a 50m pool in a new mixed leisure development. But all our research shows that an aquatics leisure pool would be by far the better choice to satisfy demand and give the best return on investment.


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