CAMPAIGNERS took to the streets yesterday to show their determination to keep Plas Madoc Leisure Centre open.
Between 150 and 200 campaigners gathered outside Wrexham Council’s Guildhall headquarters in protests against the planned closure of the Acrefair leisure venue.
Protesters blew whistles, chanted “save Plas Madoc” and held banners. The mass protest met councillors as they walked into the county offices for a scrutiny committee workshop to discuss plans to close the leisure centre.
Press and public were barred from the meeting, ahead of next Tuesday’s executive board vote on the plans.
Speaking at yesterday’s protest, Alison Roberts, of the Save Plas Madoc Leisure Centre campaign, said the under-threat facility was a “vital centre for the community”.
“It is critical to the community and I don’t think the councillors realise what a vital asset it is”, she said.
“Not only have generations of children learned to swim there, but it is a key referral centre for people in the region from GPs.
“It’s a Tuesday lunchtime and there’s upwards of 150 people here, which shows you the strength of feeling.”
Clwyd South AM Ken Skates said the possibility of handing the running of the facility over to a social enterprise had been the subject of discussions between himself and Wrexham Council officials.
Mr Skates described the talks as “constructive” and added he had urged campaigners and councillors to come to the table to discuss the viability of a social enterprise scheme taking the centre over.
The executive board will consider recommendations from external consultants the Sports Consultancy – which said it will save cash to close Plas Madoc and Waterworld Leisure Centre in Wrexham and replace them with a new £11.9 million facility in Wrexham town centre. They will ponder more than 2,000 responses received during a public consultation window, which ended last week.
Mr Skates said: “I have urged the council and the community to come together and explore with urgency and energy the potential for transferring Plas Madoc Leisure Centre into a vibrant mutual or social enterprise. I have put the council and campaigners in touch with the Wales Co-operative Centre and have also provided a menu of suggestions and ideas for how to drive up service user numbers and better exploit the commercial potential of the site.”