Ebbsfleet Garden City Trust commissioned SLC in May 2023 to support the procurement of a lease arrangement with a specialist leisure operator for the management of a new Community Hub in Ebbsfleet Green.

Ebbsfleet is the first garden city to be developed in 100 years and is being constructed across 2,500 acres of previously used, brownfield land on the Kent Thames riverside. The new Garden City aspires to be a national exemplar in terms of the quality of place achieved along with high quality civic infrastructure.

Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC) was set up by the government to drive forward the development of the Garden City. Alongside the core infrastructure of housing, transport and services, EDC has a key placemaking role through development of community facilities, schools, parks and open spaces. The Ebbsfleet Garden City Trust has been set up by EDC to take ownership of these public assets and to ensure the sustainable operation of them over the long term.

A new Community Hub in the heart of Ebbsfleet Green is being developed and is scheduled to open in October 2025. The Hub is one of a series of community placemaking projects across Ebbsfleet, with a specific remit to support local residents to participate in sport, physical activity and community events.

SLC’s Role

SLC provided end-to-end support on procuring a new lease agreement for the management and operation of the new Community Hub.

This started with support for the Trust in developing a clear procurement strategy to identify an optimal approach in terms of:

  • Strategic aims and objectives aligned with the Trust’s aspirations
  • Length of lease
  • Risk profile
  • Evaluation framework
  • Core service requirements

A services specification was developed to accompany the lease, providing direction on how the services are to be delivered in support of the Trust’s objectives.

SLC then supported the Trust throughout the tender stages, which included:

  • Helping with responses to clarification questions
  • Facilitating bidder meetings
  • Evaluating bids
  • Providing analysis and advice on financial submissions
  • Drafting and issuing of outcome letters to bidders


Following the tender process, a 15-year lease was awarded to Freedom Leisure, a not-for-profit leisure trust who scored highest on both quality and price.

Freedom Leisure will work with the Trust to provide input into the final design of the Community Hub and develop a mobilisation plan for the opening of the new facility in October 2025.

Ebbsfleet logo


I am very pleased to say that SLC provided us with expert timely support and guidance in procuring a high-quality operator for the planned Community Hub in Ebbsfleet Green. This is the first major asset to be transferred to the Garden City Trust and so we wanted to make sure the process was thorough, suitably robust and that the Trust Board were fully briefed. Toby and the SLC team were responsive, easy to work with and led us through each stage of the process, skilfully ensuring the right balance between meeting the Trust’s requirements whilst ensuring the opportunity was attractive to the operator market. Toby’s specialist knowledge of the sector gave us complete confidence in the process and helped to deliver a fantastic outcome. We would not hesitate to work with SLC in the future.

Mark Patchett, Stewardship Project Manager