The Company & Board responsible for the management of the Riviera International Conference Centre (RICC) in Torquay, has announced that it has begun a 30 day consultation period with a group of staff who have been placed at risk of redundancy, as part of a range of measures to safeguard the future of the centre for the people of Torbay.
Parkwood Leisure were due to take over the running of the RICC from April this year, but the planned takeover had to be put on hold when the Centre was forced to close in March in line with government COVID-19 guidance. As a result, the Council had to step in to take control of the RICC management company and provide short term financial support in the absence of sufficient support from the government.
The RICC, which opened in 1987, has suffered a significant loss of income this year due to the forced closure, and, whilst it is planned for the gym to re-open on Monday 7th September, and possibly the café, the remainder of the Centre will remain closed at this point. As well as a loss of income from Leisure, the centre has also lost out on all the usual income generated by the wide range of events and conferences the RICC would usually host, all of which have had to be cancelled since March.
Simon Jolly, Managing Director of the RICC, said: “We have started a redundancy consultation process with a group of staff, so it would not be appropriate for us to comment further at this stage. It is a process which should be treated with the upmost sensitivity, and of course our top priority at this time is supporting those affected.”
Councillor Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council, said: “Our thoughts are with the staff affected during this consultation period but we will also need to do all we can to safeguard the future of the RICC.”
Deputy Leader Councillor Darren Cowell said: “We will continue to lobby government for more support for the sector and discuss the passing of the management to Parkwood – all in the interests of securing a positive future for this important asset for both tourism and the community.”
The long term plan is still for Parkwood Leisure to take over the management and operation of the business on a 25-year lease basis and the aim is to be able to reopen the various areas of the business on a phased approach, depending on government guidance at the time.
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