A LEISURE centre threatened with closure could yet be saved.
Plas Madoc Leisure Centre near Wrexham could be spared from permanently shutting its doors thanks to Welsh Government support.
Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance, told the Senedd yesterday a new pilot loan fund of £5 million for local authorities was available for the safeguarding and developing of leisure services.
The figure was announced when regional AM Aled Roberts pressed the minister on what guidance has been issued to local authorities, like Wrexham, over the closure of leisure centres like Plas Madoc.
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 to or closures of leisure centres.
On hearing the news, Wrexham Council leader Neil Rogers said: “The consultation is running until next Friday and this money that may be available will be taken into consideration during this process.”
Mr Roberts, himself a former leader of Wrexham Council, said he would be in immediate contact with the council.
He said: “This is a significant development and I will be urging Wrexham Council to investigate the possibility of applying for a loan.
“The announcement by Finance Minister Jane Hutt makes it clear the fund could be used to invest in the Plas Madoc centre to give it a long term future or, alternatively, to provide replacement facilities.
“The minister implied that even if an application to the new fund was not successful ‘other opportunities’ may arise to help local authorities run leisure services.
“I suggest Wrexham Council pursues these ideas with the Welsh Government with some urgency because there is overwhelming support for keeping these leisure facilities in communities all over Wrexham, but particularly in the south of the county which relies heavily on Plas Madoc."