Operator calls on public to back bid to run Pyramids

Andrew Long, Manager of Operations, Pyramids, Southsea. Picture: Robin Jones
Andrew Long, Manager of Operations, Pyramids, Southsea. Picture: Robin Jones
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VISITORS are being urged to get behind an organisation’s bid to remain in charge of The Pyramids Centre.

Southsea Community Leisure Limited (SCLL) has set up a petition in the hope people will come forward and show their support.

As previously reported in The News, management of the leisure complex is out for tender and SCLL is keen to stay.

Companies had until Friday to submit an application to Portsmouth City Council, which leases The Pyramids to SCLL, and a decision now has to be made.

SCLL was one of eight firms that showed an interest.

Andrew Long, manager of operations at The Pyramids, said his team has the community’s best interests at heart.

‘We are a social enterprise that is for the community, so we thought we would get the backing of the community,’ he said.

‘All of our profits go straight back in the business and the regeneration of the site.

‘We have got lots of good ideas and we want to maintain the parts that are working and running effectively.

‘We have a lot of people coming in to use our pool and facilities.’

So far 18 signatures have been submitted online and another 172 people have signed a hard copy of the petition at The Pyramids.

It’s hoped that up to 1,500 names will be collected by the end of the month.

If SCLL stays in charge it will look to set up dance and personal training studios in existing spaces. It also wants to introduce a bike hire scheme along the seafront.

SCLL’s chief executive Tim Herman said: ‘We want the locals to get behind us so that when the council come to make up their minds there are 1,000 or 1,500 people saying Southsea Community Leisure Limited is doing a good job.’

Conservative group leader Councillor Donna Jones said any decision made will have to take into account The Pyramids’ long-term future.

‘This has to be about the long-term vision,’ she said.

‘We can’t make short-sighted decisions.

‘Sure Start centres and public toilets are closing and we are keeping this swimming pool open when millions of pounds have already been spent on facilities at the Mountbatten Centre.’

Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said the petition should be addressing whether people want the Pyramids to stay open.

‘SCLL would be more sensible to persuade some people that the Pyramids should remain open because there are colleagues of mine that want to shut it,’ he said.

The matter will go before cabinet on June 3 and a final decision will be made at full council eight days later.

To sign the petition go online at pyramids.co.uk and click on Support Us on the right of the page or visit The Pyramids.