Sheffield Leisure bosses to cut management costs - as high wages revealed

Finance Director: Andrew Snelling, of Sheffield International Venues
Finance Director: Andrew Snelling, of Sheffield International Venues
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SHEFFIELD International Venues has pledged to make ‘significant’ cuts to management costs after accounts revealed the company pays £300,000 a year to just three senior directors.

The firm has also been slow to collect tens of thousands of pounds from debtors – among them Sheffield Council.

But SIV, a council-owned company which runs leisure centres, Ponds Forge and Don Valley Stadium, said the outstanding debt was ‘small’ and similar to other firms of its size and nothing out of the ordinary.

Wages and pension costs for the three directors, which include pension contributions of £21,000, were £300,000 in 2011/12.

Campaigners say the figure is three-quarters of threatened Stocksbridge Leisure Centre’s £400,000 annual subsidy, and almost half of the £700,000 subsidy paid to Don Valley Stadium.

Don Valley Stadium closes on September 30, and Stocksbridge will shut unless residents and the town council come up with a rescue plan.

Andrew Snelling, finance director for SIV, said: “We have agreed a significant programme of head office efficiencies.”

But he added that, even if outstanding debt was collected more quickly, it would not be enough to save Don Valley Stadium or Stocksbridge Leisure Centre from closure.

At the end of the 2011/12 financial year, around £20,000 was owed in debts more than 30 days old.

Mr Snelling said: “I don’t believe we have a significant debt problem. I don’t think there is any debt we could collect more quickly.

“Twenty thousand pounds of debt which is more than 30 days old is a very small sum in the context of the company as a £30m business.”

Emma Gregory, chair of 4SLC, the campaign group fighting closure of Stocksbridge Leisure Centre, said: “I don’t know what these directors do to warrant money like that when they are part of a charitable organisation. They are paid huge wages, and taking services away from people on the breadline.”

Stocksbridge Lib Dem Coun Alison Brelsford added: “While Stocksbridge Leisure Centre is being claimed as unviable, we now learn SIV is operating with ridiculous overheads.”