CARLISLE’S biggest sport and leisure operator has reported a loss of more than £100,000 in its first year.

Greenwich Leisure Limited manages The Sands Centre, Carlisle Pools, Bitts Park and the Sheepmount Atheltics Stadium on behalf of the city council.

The partnership was £104,000 adrift of break even position, with the Sands Centre recording a bottom line loss of £76,000.

But GLL, a social enterprise with about 250 public sport and leisure locations UK-wide, has described the performance as “positive overall”.

Reduced membership, late opening of the Sheepmount and lack of development at Bitts Park – with two courts out of action – have been blamed for the loss.

Other issues cited included continued costs at Carlisle Pools though some of the underperformance has been offset by reduced staff costs and a 20 per cent increase in the use of its venues for events.

The performance report is due to be presented to the city council’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Panel today.

The report summing up the financial position said: “Although this year was positive overall, the leisure provision has not fully recovered from the 2015 floods with a number of facilities still affected.

“The facilities at Bitts Park still require full reinstatement or alternative provision, but we have helped move the tennis coaching provision to other providers to minimise disruption.

“The Sheepmount opened at Easter, slightly later than forecast. Despite this, the partnership performed strongly, down to the hard work of centre teams, the partnership with the council and a co-ordinated approach to leisure activity across the city.”

The 15-year contract between the city council and GLL started in December 2017, with 2018 the first full year of operation. Figures are expected to improve with several of the events still to show up in accounts.