Council backtracks on 25-year sports services contract
Pressure from SNP group will see a not-for-profit trust established to run services.
Plans to award a private firm a 25-year contract to run Stirling Council's sports and fitness services have been scrapped.
Following a procurement process, the authority looked set to give the £25m contract to an English firm, Sports and Leisure Management Limited (SLM).
However, in a special meeting on Thursday evening, councillors decided that neither of the two bids submitted met the criteria of being community-led.
Current provider Active Stirling will now continue to run fitness services until November while work begins to establish a not-for-profit trust to deliver sports and leisure.
The proposal to grant the contract to SLM had been met with fierce criticism from the council's SNP group, who claimed it amounted to privatisation.
SNP group leader, councillor Scott Farmer said: "I am delighted common sense has prevailed tonight and that the SNP have managed to negotiate a halt to the privatisation of sports services.
"However, we should never have been marched to the cliff edge in this way and serious questions must be answered by the Tory/Labour administration who led this process.
"I am grateful to the many members of the public who voiced their outrage at these proposals. It is because of them that Tory/Labour coalition councillors were made to listen and back down on these plans.
"I would also like to pay tribute to those from Active Stirling who work hard to deliver the service that we have.
"Their dedication and the passion they have for what they do is why we can be proud of a service kept safe in public, not private, hands."
In a statement, Stirling Council said: "Stirling is known for its sporting excellence and the council has huge ambitions for sport and physical activity and the role they can play in enhancing communities and improving lives, regardless of ability.
"The focus throughout this process has been to ensure the provision of the best possible sports, physical activity and wellbeing service and opportunities throughout the area."