A FLAGSHIP leisure centre could be under the threat of closure, a councillor has warned.
Plas Madoc Leisure Centre could become a victim of swathing cuts to Wrexham’s Council’s leisure services budget – according to Plas Madoc ward councillor Paul Blackwell.
Cllr Blackwell spoke out about the potential closure of the swimming pool and sports centre yesterday after a crunch meeting with Wrexham Council’s head of assets Steve Bayley, where he said he was told the bad news.
“The outcome is the leisure centre could potentially close,” said Cllr Blackwell after the summit.
“The meeting discussed leisure provision throughout the county.
“I am devastated. The leisure centre has been up for closure twice before and on both occasions that was stopped.
“If closure goes ahead now it would be a big blow for the staff and customers.”
Cllr Blackwell said staff at the Acrefair leisure centre were updated about the situation by the council this week.
Wrexham Council did not comment on Cllr Blackwell’s claims yesterday.
Consultation is ongoing on plans to make £13.9 million of savings from the council’s budget next year. It is understood a separate public consultation will take place for any specific changes or closures to leisure centres.
The Plas Madoc Leisure Centre is promoted as a flagship attraction on Wrexham Council’s website and attracts visitors from all over the North West, Shropshire and North Wales.
It has a swimming pool, squash courts, badminton courts, indoor football, outdoor multi-use games area, indoor climbing wall and trampolining facilities.
“We will try to fight the plans,” added Cllr Blackwell. “I will do my utmost to get the best outcome for Plas Madoc.
“The big problem is there is an unprecedented black hole in the finances.”
Cllr Blackwell said the issue was due to be discussed at a meeting of the homes, environment and communities scrutiny committee next month.
“At present I can’t go into full details,” he added.
“This week members of staff at Plas Madoc were told the situation by the council.
“It is not just Plas Madoc Leisure Centre that could be under threat. There is a whole leisure review and other facilities could be affected as well.”
The mooted proposal comes as council chiefs face unprecedented financial pressures.
The council has announced £400,000 of planned savings from leisure services among cuts totalling almost £13.9 million for the next financial year.
The council is also planning to trim £311,000 from the leisure budget the following year, making a total cut of £711,000 over the next two years.
A council report into the budget cuts said: “The council is exploring alternative options for the management and operation of leisure services, to reduce the cost of providing these services, as well as reviewing the number of facilities that the council operates, which may entail closures. It is estimated that this could save £400,000.”
A Wrexham Council spokesman said: “The council is running a consultation that gives members of the public the opportunity to submit their views on the draft budget proposals for the 2014/2015 financial year.
“The consultation can be accessed via our website www.wrexham.gov.uk/budgetproposals. Paper copies of the consultation will also be available in Contact Wrexham, Wrexham Library and the Guildhall Reception.
“People can feedback their views on the draft budget proposals by completing the online feedback form https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/ReshapingServices, sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (marking it ‘budget consultation’) or writing to us at 3rd Floor Annexe, The Guildhall, Wrexham LL11 1AY (mark your letter ‘budget consultation’).”
The deadline for responses is December 11.