MANAGEMENT of three council-owned leisure centres in the Cotswolds and Cirencester’s Corinium Museum is to be handed over to a private company at the end of this month.

In May Cotswold District Council announced it would be handing over management of its leisure centres in Cirencester, Bourton-on-the-Water and Chipping Campden, as well as the Corinium Museum, would be transferred to Sports Leisure Management in an effort to save almost £300,000 a year.

The new arrangement is now set to come into place on Wednesday, July 31.

The running of the leisure centres in Tetbury and Fairford will be handed over to Sir William Romney’s and Farmor’s schools respectively later in the summer.

In his quarterly update to residents last week CDC leader Cllr Lynden Stowe (Con, Campden-Vale) said despite the handover the council would retain ownership of all the facilities.

“Even though these services are extremely well run, they are currently costing a combined total of over £600,000 each year, he said.

“By bringing in an external provider to manage and deliver these services and handing the facilities at Fairford and Tetbury to the schools the council will be able to make savings of almost £300,000 per year.”

He added all staff employed at the facilities will be transferred to the new operators and customers should see no change in service.

“The Council has been very impressed by SLM's ability and track record,” he said. “They already have contracts with 29 Local authorities and run 80 facilities, including those at nearby Stroud and Stratford-upon-Avon.

“We believe that they will continue to provide the public with the quality, affordable leisure and museum services that they enjoy at present.”