Posted: Thu 2nd Apr 2015

Waterworld’s Imminent End Of Life Extends By 20 Years

Wrexham.com for people living in or visiting the wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Apr 2nd, 2015

A new report has said the life of Waterworld could extend to the year 2035, contrasting with a previous report that said it was ‘reaching the end of its design life’.

In what has been a long-running debate on the way leisure facilities in Wrexham are run, a decision was initially due to take place in February 2015 to decide what was to happen and when. However in what turned out to be an eventful and somewhat ‘abnormal’ Scrutiny Meeting, the decision was deferred pending a condition report of Waterworld and a comparison between a new local or an established trust.

The future of Waterworld has been surrounded by uncertainty since December 2013, when external consultants advised Wrexham Council to close the facility – which was also accompanied by the proposed closure of Plas Madoc Leisure Centre.

Recommendations were initially put forward to demolish the facility and replace Waterworld with a new state of the art leisure centre, costing nearly £12,000,000.

However the development of a replacement leisure centre on the Bodhyfryd site (which is currently subject to Wrexham’s ‘Town Centre Masterplan’) was thrown into doubt in February 2015 when it was announced that such a new facility  was ‘no longer affordable’.

Speaking in February at a Scrutiny Committee meeting,  Cllr Hugh Jones said: “We need also to take into consideration the changing scenario from the original report with Plas Madoc having re-opened as Splash Magic and Total Fitness about to invest in their new major sports and recreation facility close by.

“In addition the Council is having to make significant and unprecedented cuts in its budget over the next two years and the need to identify savings in order to prioritise the vulnerable whilst protecting frontline services has also had a huge role to play in our decision.

“We are fortunate that the building is in a good state of repair and we will continue to maintain the building to ensure that it continues to be an important hub for the local community”.

The decision to retain Waterworld Leisure Centre and look into transferring the facility to a Trust is a stark contrast to reports presented to councillors and members of the public 12 months ago – with a report created by the Sports Consultancy stating: “Waterworld is reaching the end of its design life and it constrained by its physical infrastructure to maximise income.”

In a report due to go before a Scrutiny Committee next week, details of a visual assessment recently carried out on Waterworld have been provided (viewable on Appendix Four here) with details of spending of £700,000 over five years to maintain it.

The survey states: “The property was fully refurbished in 1998 and with all credit to the staff has been maintained to a good standard with little evidence of damage within the public areas. The report we have prepared details the repairs we consider necessary over the next 10 years to keep the premises in the current condition – ie the existing surfaces, fixtures and fittings in a good state of repair.

“If the repairs scheduled are undertaken over the next 10 years the future life of the building will be maintained in excess of 20 years bearing in mind that after the 10 year of work identified that further maintenance will be ongoing.

“What this report does not address is the question of suitability. Whiles the repairs detailed will maintain the building in a serviceable state of repair it will not address the fact that over the period of the next 5 – 10 years the building will become increasingly tired requiring refurbishment – not to maintain its condition but to maintain the level of service it needs to provide within an ever increasingly competitive marketplace.”

The condition assessment goes onto comment on the visual appearance of several aspects of the leisure centre, including the roof, external areas, mechanical and the overall condition of the spa, sauna and swimming pools.

Within the survey it is noted that work is required on several aspects of the facility, which was last refurbished in 1998. In the assessment it is stated that there are issues with water damage, that the spa area is past its life span and that the The quarry tiled pool surround is in a patched but serviceable condition.

The survey also notes: “From reports from staff the current level of leakage from the pool is manageable although not ideal.”

Details in the report also come from the external consultants on the ‘Advantages & Disadvantages of Setting up a New Trust Compared to Using an Existing Leisure Trust’, and are summarised in the following table:

transfer-pros-cons

Overall there are five recommendations which will be presented to councillors to agree on next week (listed below) which if approved will be passed upwards to the Executive Board.

The proposed resolutions are :

a) NOT replace or extend Waterworld or undertake major refurbishment and instead procure an existing leisure trust to manage the Council’s leisure centres (as approved by the Board in March 2014) based on the status quo (continuing repair and maintenance and minor refurbishment only)

b) instruct officers to keep under review external sources of funding for a new centre and advise the Board if such funds become available

c) retain the dual-use facilities within the Leisure Service (rather than transfer them to the schools), but market test whether they can be managed by an existing leisure trust as part of the procurement of a trust to manage the Council’s portfolio of leisure centres, subject to a report being brought back to the Board when the market-testing has been concluded

d) approve the tender evaluation criteria attached as Appendix 2 as the basis for scoring tenders as may be submitted by existing leisure trusts to manage the Council’s leisure centres

e) authorise the Head of Community Wellbeing & Development, in consultation with the Head of Finance, the Head of Corporate & Customer Services, the Lead Member for Communities, Partnerships & Collaboration and the Leader of the Council, to appoint a trust which best satisfies the tender evaluation criteria attached as Appendix 2

The report will go before Scrutiny on Thursday 9th April at 2pm.

The overall report on Waterworld is expected to go before the Council Executive Board later this month.



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