Wrexham Council has been urged to ‘follow the Welsh Government’s lead’ and contribute funding to Plas Madoc Leisure Centre.
Last week Wrexham.com reported that Plas Madoc Leisure Centre was to receive a £500,000 grant as part of the Welsh Government’s Community Facilities programme.
The grant will help fund a series of urgent repairs to the centre including a replacement roof, fixing wiring and insulation, replacing pool plant equipment and upgrading the CCTV and fire alarm.
Plas Madoc Leisure Centre was saved from closure by a team of volunteers and the Splash Magic Trust in 2014, after Wrexham Council announced they could no longer keep the facility due to ongoing budget cuts.
However in a u-turn in October 2014, Wrexham’s Executive Board voted in favour of handing over a 20 year lease to Plas Madoc Leisure Centre over to the Splash Magic Community Trust, along with a £50,000 grant to help kick start the reopening of the leisure centre.
Clwyd South AM Ken Skates is now calling on Wrexham Council to ‘show the same good faith in the volunteer-run Trust’, who recently asked for a £50,000 loan from the council to ease cash-flow concerns caused by the huge repair bill it inherited.
Mr Skates said: “I’m proud that the Welsh Labour Government has shown its support for Plas Madoc Leisure Centre and the local community, and I’d love for Wrexham Council to now do the same and agree to help the volunteers.
“Maintenance problems passed on to the Trust from the council’s watch have already cost more than they are asking for. I would now urge the leadership at the Guildhall to emulate the Welsh Labour Government, which earlier this year gave them an interest-free loan of £1m to fund the revamp of Chirk Leisure Centre and Waterworld in Wrexham.”
Before the council voted to close Plas Madoc in 2014, it was running at a £500,000-a-year loss.
Cllr Kevin Hughes, deputy leader of the council Labour group, said: “This funding from the Welsh Labour Government comes just at the right time. I don’t think anyone envisaged just how much work was required and how much money was needed when they took over the building.
“It’s a tribute to the dedication of the management team, employees and all the volunteers that they’ve kept this much-needed facility going with limited resources.”
Local councillor Paul Blackwell added: “A loan from Wrexham Council would further ease financial pressures caused by neglect over a number of years. The Welsh Labour Government is investing in the facilities of Wrexham, it’s about time the council did as well.”
Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones said the Trust has spent in excess of £50,000 on repairs ‘which had been allowed to deteriorate as a result of the council assuming eventual demolition of the building’.
Ms Jones added: “There is clearly great support from the public and the profile of the centre is rapidly growing, its successes being noted on a national scale. I am also aware of the contributions of community councils such as Cefn Mawr, Ruabon and Rhos, who are doing everything possible on very tight budgets to support Plas Madoc Leisure Centre.
“I feel that the population of Wrexham would welcome their council supporting such a worthy cause.”
However Cllr Hugh Jones, Lead Member for Communities and Partnerships, said that Wrexham Council are currently in discussion with management from the leisure centre.
Cllr Jones added: “We are delighted that Splash Magic have received the grant from the Welsh Government and that we were able to provide funding in support of their application.
“We are currently discussing with the Management of Splash Magic their request for further funding from Wrexham Council and hope for a resolution fairly soon.
“Any further funding will need the approval of the Executive Board.”