£7 million leisure centre redevelopment gets underway in Monmouthshire

A £7.4 million project to refurbish and extend Monmouth Leisure Centre in South Wales has started on site. Alliance Leisure is delivering the scheme for Monmouthshire County Council under the UK Leisure Framework.

Opened in 2000, the centre is dated and in much need of renovation. The project, which is being funded by a combination of local project developments and borrowing, will future-proof the centre’s facilities while meeting demand in under-represented markets in the area such as health and wellbeing and children’s play.

ISG has been appointed by Alliance Leisure as principle build contractor for the multi-phased scheme. Phase one includes the refurbishment of the centre to include a new 65-station gym, exercise studio, group cycling studio and changing areas. A new toning suite will increase the provision for sedentary people and those suffering with poor health conditions. Due to complete in summer 2018, phase one also includes a new steel-frame, glass-fronted extension housing a children’s play area and café.

The second phase, scheduled to open in winter 2018, includes a new 25m, five lane swimming pool, a health suite comprising a sauna, steam room and spa bath, and multi-purpose room. Designed to Amateur Swimming Association standards, the pool will be suitable for local galas with enhanced viewing areas and better facilities for youngsters to learn to swim.

A temporary four court sports hall with changing rooms and toilets will accommodate centre users as well as students from Monmouth Comprehensive School while the project is ongoing.

Julia Goddard, Senior Business Development Manager at Alliance Leisure, says: “This project is the result of an established relationship with Monmouthshire County Council. We’ve been in discussions with Monmouthshire for some time, but it was the launch of the UK Leisure Framework earlier this year that allowed the council to proceed with the development in the most cost-effective way.”

Cllr Bob Greenland, deputy leader of Monmouthshire County Council, says: “Gone are the days when public money can be ploughed into leisure, into what some would regard as non-essential services. Yet with health issues on the top of everyone’s agenda, leisure services play a pivotal role in improving public health. The public sector needs to approach the issue with a commercial perspective, which is what we are doing in Monmouthshire.

“Our recent wellbeing assessment tells us we have to plan for the future and invest in preventative programmes to ensure our communities take steps to a healthier life. This project will increase our exercise, swimming and fitness offer allowing us to engage with more of our community.”

£1m Redevelopment of Larkfield Leisure Centre Gets Underway

tmactive is investing more than £1m in Larkfield Leisure Centre, which it operates on behalf of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, to meet growing customer demand for group exercise.

The leisure trust has appointed Alliance Leisure Services as development partners for the project. Masterplanned by architects Saunders Boston, the scheme will create three new studio spaces and extend the existing gym by an extra 1200 square feet.

An extension to the front of the centre will house two new group exercise studios, complete with sprung floors, LED mixed lighting and inspirational graphics, allowing tmactive to provide a significantly increased and varied group exercise class programme. The project will also create the centre’s first dedicated group cycling studio, while the extended gym will feature new top of the range cardiovascular and resistance equipment from Technogym, a functional training rig more than twice the size of the current rig, and an expanded freeweights offer. The Technogym equipment will incorporate the new Unity screens providing touch ID, personalisation, exercise programming and customer contact software. The leading equipment is not available anywhere else locally regardless of price point.

The trust is funding the capital works whilst Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council is responsible for more than £200,000 costs on the replacement equipment. The trust is supplementing this budget by further investment to upgrade to the Unity screens and bring new complementary pieces of equipment such as the Octane Zero Runner and Technogym Skill Mill to the gym floor

“The number of people coming to Larkfield Leisure Centre for group exercise classes is growing year on year and we are delighted to be able to respond to this demand with some fantastic new studios. The redevelopment will allow us to accommodate even more users from the local community with an even wider range of group exercise classes. The extension to the gym also reflects patterns of use with increased investment in freeweights, functional training and digital connectivity to ensure our customers gain maximum benefit from working out at Larkfield” says Martin Guyton, chief executive of tmactive.

Tom Fairey, senior business development manager at Alliance Leisure Services, says: “We’ve built up a good relationship with tmactive over the years while looking at various development opportunities for the Trust. As development partners, we are delighted to be working with the team to provide exciting new facilities for the local community at Larkfield by delivering the right scheme at the right budget.”

Work has now started on site with the two new group exercise studios scheduled to open in early April 2018. The gym extension and Spin Studio is due to complete in May 2018.


Heads of leisure from across the UK visited Salt Ayre Leisure Centre in Lancaster to learn how Alliance Leisure has transformed this failing facility into a thriving community hub boasting a 72 per cent increase in customer visits.

Working with Lancaster City Council, Alliance Leisure led the £5m redevelopment of the centre from concept stage to delivery modernising the building and introducing a range of new attractions. These included the Les Mills immersive cycling experience, the Trip™; Europe’s first outdoor Flight Tower; an 80 station gym, adventure play area, XHeight climbing wall, barista-style café and luxury spa.

Sixty public sector leisure operators saw the transformation for themselves at a special event hosted by Alliance Leisure and Les Mills. They were also the first to learn about the positive impact of the development through ukactive’s independent research into the social and financial return on investment of the Salt Ayre project.

The centre, which was making an annual loss of £800,000, will be in a revenue-neutral position within three years, which includes paying back the initial £5m investment.  The ukactive research found that since the redevelopment, visits to the centre has jumped by more than 20,000. Gym attendance has increased by 83 per cent and fitness class attendance by 83 per cent, with the Les Mill Immersive experience attracting more than 5,000 visits alone. The new adventure facilities, including XHeight and the Flight Tower, generated more than 10,000 visits to the centre.

Active members has more than doubled to over 2,500 with female members increasing by 160 per cent to form 58 per cent of the membership base. The new junior membership has proved particularly popular with more than 200 sales.

The research showed that the new facilities are attracting people from further afield with users travelling from almost a kilometre further away to use the centre.

“The aim of the investment was to breathe new life into a failing facility and create a vibrant environment which stimulates participation. It is hugely satisfying to evidence large scale community engagement and successfully re-positions the facility as an integral part of what has become a more active local population,” says James Foley, Commercial Director at Alliance Leisure.

For more information about the project, take a look at this video filmed by ITN Productions in partnership with APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence)…

Paul Woodford speaking on Marketing and Culture

Professor Andy Miah talking technology, sport and health

Dr Steve Mann presenting the ukactive research findings

Delegates take the opportunity to experience the Les Mills The Trip for themselves


A £1.5m project to refurbish facilities at Birchwood Leisure Centre gets underway this month. The scheme, designed and delivered by Alliance Leisure, will upgrade the tired centre with a host of new facilities to meet the demands of existing users and drive growth.

Operated by Active Nation on behalf of City of Lincoln Council since 2007, the centre has also begun to outgrow its facilities with overcrowding in the gym and studio space unable to accommodate the expanding programme of classes.

The improvement programme, funded by City Of Lincoln Council, includes a new gym which increases the number of stations from 30 to 100 with new equipment, a larger free weights area and small group training space. It also includes the region’s first fully immersive group cycling studio from Les Mills with a cinema-scale screen and sound system.

A new soft play area and XHeight Adventure Climbing facility will allow the centre to increase its exercise offerings for children and expand its party packages giving it greater reach in the family market, while the Shapemaster power-assisted exercise studio, the city’s first, provides an opportunity to develop its work in rehabilitation, exercise referral and care for older people.

A new Costa ‘Proud to Serve’ café along with a new display area for the local RAF 50 & 61 Squadron Association memorabilia completes the refurbishment project, which Active Nation believes will increase its membership base from 1,000 to more than 2,000.

“The redevelopment gives us an opportunity to appeal to a new market of users who can’t fulfil their activity needs with the current facilities. The Birchwood community has had to travel outside of its immediate catchment for any activities beyond a basic fitness provision, but they will soon have a first class exercise experience with activities appealing to all age groups right on their doorstep,” says Mark Learnihan, Business Development & Partnership Director at Active Nation.

Tom Fairey, Senior Business Development Manager at Alliance Leisure, says: “This investment by the City of Lincoln will create a modern, affordable and sustainable leisure centre that will bring innovative new health and leisure facilities to a wider group of users from the local community and will save money for the council and taxpayer in the long term.”

Councillor Donald Nannestad, Deputy Leader of City of Lincoln Council and Portfolio Holder for Health and Recreational Services, said: “The modernised leisure centre will provide fantastic new facilities for Lincoln, and offer something for everyone all under one roof, creating more opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to get active.

“This is a significant investment by the city council in its aim to bring health benefits and opportunities to our residents and other leisure centre users. It’s brilliant to see work begin on site to deliver these exciting improvements.”


An innovative marketing campaign has helped Leeds City Council to conquer low cost competition boosting membership by a staggering 2,000 members.

The council have partnered with Alliance Leisure’s client support team after 14 budget gyms opened in the city, posing a big threat to the success of the council’s 16 leisure sites.

Launched in January 2017, the ‘We Are Family’ campaign was designed around the council’s brand values and wide offering for local families. Alliance Leisure adopted a multi-channel marketing approach to the campaign, utilising both offline and digital channels.

Tim Quirke, marketing manager for Active Leeds, says: “Our partnership with Alliance Leisure has enabled us to run a city-wide campaign targeting likely users of the leisure centres without stretching the limited resources available in the leisure marketing team. Alliance’s support and coaching has been invaluable in enabling these campaigns to be so successful.”

“For each campaign we use online advertising on channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to target customers in the local community served by each leisure centre. We also use search advertising on Google Adwords and YouTube to promote the campaign messages in addition to sending specific email and SMS messages to previous members or casual users of each centre. Coupled with other more traditional channels, this strategy ensures we target individuals located around each leisure centres and maximise the return on investment,” explains Paul Woodford, Director of Marketing and Partnership at Alliance Leisure.

To support the campaign, Alliance also provided training for over 600 members of staff. This ranged from management workshops focused on the sales process, coaching staff and monitoring performance to group training with frontline staff covering customer service, enquiry handling and up-selling techniques.

“The training has been superb. It’s really helped to unite the team and ensure continuity of messaging and process across our entire leisure portfolio,” says Quirke. “The campaign theme has also been very well received by the community, hitting home the message that what differentiates us from low cost operators is the sense of community and belonging. We Are Family is all about promoting a supportive, caring, inclusive environment where we all pull together to maximise the potential of each and every individual.”

The response to the digital advertising has seen three-quarters of a million people living in Leeds exposed to some form of online campaign advertising since January. This has generated more than 3,500 leads for the leisure centres.

Membership has grown from 17,500 at the start of the campaign to the current membership of 19,500 with sales up by more than 60 per cent some months.

Such has been the success of the campaign that it has been extended beyond the initial New Year period to front the introduction of single activity membership options, lower membership prices and the growth in the ‘Leeds Fitness Family’. Using the tagline ‘Our Family Just Got Bigger’ Active Leeds is positive this will be their most successful year on record.


Alliance Leisure has made a raft of new appointments across its business development team to support increasing demand for new leisure developments across the UK.

This growth follows Alliance Leisure’s appointment as Leisure Development Partner to Denbighshire County Council’s new UK Leisure Framework. Launched in February, the Framework makes the development of public sector leisure facilities development more efficient and affordable, and has already resulted in a number of significant new contract wins for Alliance Leisure.

To accommodate this increase in new business, James Foley has been appointed to the new position of Commercial Director. James joined Alliance Leisure in 2012 as Business Development Manager of the North. Prior to this appointment, James enjoyed a 20-year career in leisure specialising in facility development, company strategy, operational management and marketing. In his new role, James will oversee the delivery of new projects.

Joining James on the senior management team are Tom Fairey and Julia Goddard. Both have been promoted to Senior Business Development Manager in recognition of their valuable contribution to the business. The senior team will continue to work with the growing portfolio of public sector partners to regenerate leisure provision across the UK.

Alliance Leisure has also introduced three new Business Development Managers. Ruth Doyle has 20 years’ account management and business development experience in the property sector, while Will Gardner, previously Account Manager at Alliance Leisure, and Gillian Dunster, formerly Partnerships Manager at Alliance Leisure, also join team. Finally, Jeremy Bradbury joins the company as Business Support Manager following his former role as Business Development Manager with 1Life.

Sarah Watts, Founder and CEO at Alliance Leisure, says: “In order to continue to meet the needs of our growing portfolio of public sector clients and achieve our ambitious business growth objectives, it has become necessary to expand the senior team. Our aim is always to promote from within where possible so I am really pleased that we have been able to offer new challenges to our existing, loyal and dedicated team members. I am excited to welcome the newcomers, all of whom I have no doubt will add huge value and experience. These are indeed exciting times and I am really looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together over the next few months.”

Alliance Leisure was recently awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award by ukactive at the annual FLAME Awards, recognising the huge contribution the company has made over the last decade to getting more people, more active more often.



New 3G Pitches for St Asaph Leisure Centre

The completion of new 3G pitches at St Asaph Leisure Centre marks the first development completed under the UK Leisure Framework.  Completed on-time and under-budget the £1/4m investment sees the local school gain first-class facilities that can be used by all the community.  St Asaph Leisure Centre is operated by Denbighshire County Council and this project is one of many currently being looked at by Alliance Leisure.  For updates on the Rhyl Waterpark development please click here.