External consultants have advised Wrexham Council to close both Plas Madoc leisure centre and Waterworld, but recommend building a new centre to replace Waterworld despite concerns on how to fund it.
Plas Madoc is described as having reached the ‘end of its designed life’, and concerns about Waterworld including ‘pool related leaks’. Usage of facilities is detailed with some facilities in single figures per hour for people attending, with an overall bleak picture being painted.
If proposals are seen through the town centre site, pictured above, could change drastically with other facilities nearby also going – for example the police station, and with mooted changes in the courts system perhaps even the magistrates court.
The Consultants, ‘The Sports Consultancy’ say in the report that is being put to scrutiny on Wednesday:
- The Council should transfer the management of its leisure service to an existing Leisure Trust – saving an estimated £311k a year but maintain control of the quality and scope of community leisure provision through a management contract.
- Hand back the dual use facilities to the schools (with the exception of Clywedog swimming pool which will provide opportunities for primary school lessons swimming clubs and classes).
- Close Plas Madoc Leisure Centre and do not replace it.
- Close Waterworld and build a new leisure centre.
- Close Queensway gym (not the stadium or the facilities leased to the Gymnastics Club) and Clywedog gym and relocate fitness provision to the new leisure centre.
A replacement to Waterworld is stated as costing nearly £12,000,000 which could be borrowed. The report does hint that a straight replacement may not be possible due to the economic climate saying they may ‘towards a longer term alternative funding model for the replacement of Waterworld’. One suggested site for a new building is on the Crown Buildings site across from Waterworld, a building that we have heard is already earmarked as possibly being vacated by the Council.
The report states that if a replacement to Waterworld is not built straight away the Council could save around £857,000 a year.
There is no detail given to the make up of a ‘Leisure Trust’ which could own and/or operate such facilities, however it is described as an ‘expensive and time consuming’ option.
It is worth noting though that the report does say “The full option appraisal was set out in the Part 2 report to this Scrutiny Committee in March 2013.”
Such ‘Part 2’ meetings are ones where media and public are removed from the room for the discussion , which is effectively held in secret. Therefore there could be further detail however it is impossible to report it.
The timeline for this proposal is in line with overall budgetary discussions in the Council, with scrutiny and consultations taking place at the moment, and firmer decisions taking place in first few months of the new year.
The meeting to discuss the above is being held at 2pm in the Guildhall, and is open to all to attend.
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