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Fears mount for Wrexham leisure centre future after email

Published date: 27 January 2014 |
Published by: Liam Randall 
Read more articles by Liam Randall  Email reporter


 

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Plas Madoc Leisure Centre claim its closure is a “done deal”.

It comes after a senior Wrexham Council officer circulated an email to councillors stating “one solution” for leisure service reorganisation would be put to the authority’s executive board next month.

A report by a firm, The Sports Consultancy, recommended closing Plas Madoc in Acrefair and Waterworld Leisure Centre in Wrexham, replacing them with a new £11.9 million facility in Wrexham town centre.

More than 2,000 people have contacted the council to voice views on the planned move.

But with the extended public consultation window due to close this week, members of the Save Plas Madoc Leisure Centre campaign say they are “very concerned” by the email circulated by Lawrence Isted, the council’s head of community wellbeing and development.

In the email seen by the Leader, written in response to councillors’ concerns over the closure, Mr Isted said: “Can I just make clear that we will be reporting the consultants' recommendations to the member workshop and to exec board. While we will seek to answer the detailed questions that you have raised, we will not be in a position to devise a new business case for other options.

“The consultants considered many options, which can be explained, but are proposing one solution and this will form the basis of the recommendations.

“Anything else would be outside the brief approved by executive board and should be a matter for decision by the executive board.”

A council spokesman said executive board members will consider “both the recommendations of The Sports Consultancy and the representation made by the public” before making a decision.

But Darrell Wright, of Save Plas Madoc Leisure Centre campaign, said Mr Isted’s email indicated there was only one plan on the table and the group was “very concerned at the mixed messages coming from the council,” he said.

“On the one hand we're being told the consultation is being extended to allow people enough time to have their say, but in the same breath a senior council officer is saying the only option is the one recommended – closure.

“It’s about time the council came clean about its real intention instead of conning people that this is a real consultation. If there’s only one option, then that’s a done deal. We know some councillors will challenge Mr Isted at the members' workshop on February 4.

“It’s now more important than ever everyone concerned at these leisure closures comes to the protest on Tuesday, February 4, at the Guildhall to show we will continue to fight against this closure and the arrogant nature of senior officers.”

A Wrexham Council spokesman said: “The proposals for the closure of Plas Madoc Leisure and Activity Centre and for other changes to the council’s leisure service follow a review by The Sports Consultancy of the 11 leisure facilities operated by the council in the light of proposed budget cuts of £13 million for 2014-15.

“Public consultation on the proposals has been extended until January 31 and individuals and groups have been invited to comment through the council website. To date we have received over 2,000 such responses.

“When the consultation period closes all the responses will be collated and made available to the members of the council's executive board when they consider the matter at the meeting on February 11.

“Members will consider both the recommendations of The Sports Consultancy and the representation made by the public before taking a decision.”

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