The final decision on the future of Plas Madoc Leisure Centre is to be made next week, with a recommendation put forward to approve leasing the facility to a Community Trust.
In a report due to go before the Executive Board on Tuesday it is recommended that Plas Madoc Leisure centre is handed over to Splash Community Trust. If the recommendations are passed by members of the Board Plas Madoc Leisure Centre will reopen, with the Trust being provided with a 20 year full repairing and insuring lease.
Along with handing Plas Madoc’s lease over to the Splash Community Trust, it is recommended that a £50,000 grant is allocated to the group to provide additional financial support.
The decision comes after a formal buisness plan was submitted by the Trust in July, setting out their organisational and governance arrangements, operating model, marketing activities and financial projections.
Initially proposals were put forward by the Trust for a grant of £100k across the next two years, however the report notes that ‘business plan does not depend on this additional sum being received’. For this reason, along with several concerns detailed in the report regarding whether or not the centre will be able to break even, the recommendation is to allocate a one off £50k grant to help with staffing etc.
The report states: “Council Officers and Business Wales have reviewed the final business plan and, in essence, have concluded that, if fully implemented by suitably qualified staff, it will
be sound in terms of the key issues of health and safety, financial viability and financial governance.”
The fight to reopen Plas Madoc Leisure Centre has been an ongoing battle for several months, with the closure of the centre first mooted in November 2013. Splash Community Trust was later established in an attempt to take over the leisure centre, however the centre officially closed its doors in April 2014.
Since then the Trust have been working hard to reopen the centre, putting forward a Business Proposal to councillors in order to take over and reopen Plas Madoc Leisure Centre.
Initially the decision was due to be taken by the Executive Board last month – however the reshuffle / formation of a new Independent Party for councillors resulted in September’s meeting being cancelled.
As the Trust cannot now complete the transfer by 30 September, it is recommended that the deadline be extended to 31 October at the latest. This will mean that a total of £70,000 will have been spent mothballing the building since its closure in April of this year.
It is estimated that the combined costs of mothballing the site, handing over the sports equipment free of charge and the grant will mean that £115,000 would have been spent in the seven months since the Executive Board formally announced the closure of the building.
The report concludes: “The operation of a leisure centre, particularly one containing a pool, is a highly complex task requiring effective management/governance of issues such as health
and safety, human resources, finance and pool plant/equipment. Splash Community Trust have demonstrated that they are competent to take the lease, subject to appointing appropriately qualified staff and adopting appropriate procedures to mitigate any health and safety risks, but the venture is not without considerable risk of not succeeding financially.
“The lease agreement will require the Trust to indemnify the Council against liability arising from the Trust’s operation of the premises as a leisure centre. The Trust is fully aware of the financial risks and the condition of the building and of its statutory obligations with regard to health and safety.”
“If the Trust is successful it will undoubtedly bring advantages to the local community not only in terms of access to a leisure facility, but also in terms of active community involvement in the operation of a local community facility.”
The future of Plas Madoc will be decided by the new look Executive Board on Tuesday 8th October 2014. A full copy of Tuesday’s report can be viewed in full here.