FORMER Wales international footballer Robbie Savage has backed the campaign to keep Plas Madoc Leisure Centre open.
Wrexham Council, which faces budget saving targets of at least £45 million over the next five years, has outlined plans to build a leisure centre to replace Waterworld in the town centre, by borrowing an estimated £11.9 million and closing Plas Madoc Leisure Centre in Acrefair.
Consultants for Wrexham Council believe an estimated £857,000 will be saved by closing Plas Madoc, as well as closing gyms at Ysgol Clywedog and Queensway Leisure Centre and handing back dual use facilities to schools, with the exception of the Ysgol Clywedog swimming pool.
But the BBC Match of the Day pundit said he played at the leisure centre in his younger days, before going on to be a professional footballer for Manchester United, Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers and Derby County.
He said: “I loved going there as a kid. It was a treat, especially the wave machine.
“I'll never forget the football five-a-side competitions with Llay United. I have great memories of Plas Madoc and sincerely hope it stays open.”
His support was welcomed by Rachel Lewis, of the Save Plas Madoc Leisure Centre campaign.
She said: “This shows just how important Plas Madoc and other leisure facilities can be for local youngsters. It can be the stepping stone to an international career and it’s wonderful that Bobbie hasn’t forgotten his roots here in Wrexham.
“Bobbie’s comments also emphasise that Plas Madoc is about much more than just a swimming pool. It’s got a great gym and other sporting facilities that are valued by young and old alike.”
The campaign has also had the backing of Wrexham FC player-manager Andy Morrell who said he was “disappointed” to hear the news about the proposed closure.
“Any facility that encourages and promotes exercise and healthy living needs to be backed and kept open,” he said.
“Our future stars may develop a taste for sport by participating in activities at such venues.”
The campaign is planning to unite local communities in a mass protest at noon on Saturday outside the centre.
Organisers are asking people to protest with whistles, and pots and pans to make noise.
They are also urging people to wear sports gear and to bring their friends and children.
There will be a similar protest outside Waterworld at noon on Sunday and a mass lobby of the council’s executive board outside the Guildhall on Tuesday at 1.15pm.
The future of Plas Madoc was due to be discussed at that meeting but the consultation period has been extended to January 31 and the executive board will meet again to decide the centre’s future on February 11.