Wrexham leisure centre campaigners fear 'impossible' task

Published date: 07 February 2014 |
Published by: Charlie Croasdale
Read more articles by Charlie Croasdale


CAMPAIGNERS against the closure of a leisure centre believe the facility could be closed within 60 days.

The Save Plas Madoc Leisure Centre Campaign has accused Wrexham Council of “railroading the closure plans through” and expressed its anger at only being given until April 1 to find a community social enterprise group to take over the running and costs of the facility.

The comments come after the council made public its recommendations for the future of the county’s leisure centres, including closing both Plas Madoc and Waterworld with a view to rebuilding the latter.

Under the leisure review proposals, if a community group cannot take over Plas Madoc by April 30, the report says the authority should “close, decommission and demolish” it.

Campaigner Alison Roberts believes the timescale given by the council to find an alternative community group to take on Plas Madoc “makes it impossible” to keep it open.

“We have attempted to engage with the council by requesting meetings but they have been rejected,” she said. “We have tried to get an independent surveyor into Plas Madoc to assess the true costs of the centre. Again that has not been forthcoming.

“This proposal only came to light from a scrutiny committee meeting in November. It went out to consultation in December and January and now they’re talking of closing it in the next financial year.

“The idea of the community running the centre would have more merit if the council had involved the community in this consultation. Instead it has disregarded the community’s views completely and appears willing to ride roughshod over our wishes. Let’s be clear – we do not believe the council is serious in wanting the community to successfully run Plas Madoc. The timescale makes it all but impossible to organise an orderly and effective transfer.

“There are huge issues to discuss in terms of organising financing, employment rights, a business plan and other major matters that would take many months to organise for a large company, let alone a community that would need to set up a social enterprise from scratch.”

Mrs Roberts slammed councillors for not realising the extent of “huge uncosted benefits” to the community.

“Cllr David Griffiths described leisure as a discretionary service but it has huge uncosted benefits for the community in terms of health and well-being”, she added.

“We could name some other council costs that are also discretionary that this council is not cutting – why? It appears we have council leaders who know the price of everything but the value of nothing. The council’s attitude throughout has been to railroad this closure plan through with the minimum of time to assess the options.

“The legacy of such a blinkered approach, if we allow them to succeed, will be hugely damaging for the surrounding area.”

Plaid Cymru member for Clwyd South Cllr Mabon ap Gwynfor questioned whether the council believed a community group could realistically find the sum needed to keep the centre open.

“As someone who was involved in setting up a community venture from scratch, I know from experience how long it takes,” he said. “There’s also the little matter of finding a way to bridge the current £500,000 annual deficit. Yes, there may be grants available but grants are dependent on business plans. They will not be available in 60 days.

“When the council was withdrawing funding from The Venture and Caia Park Partnership, it did so over a number of years with a gradual taper. Why isn’t this being proposed for Plas Madoc?”

A Wrexham Council spokesman said:  “It is important to stress no decision has been made regarding the future of Plas Madoc and other leisure provision provided by the council. A of number options will be discussed by the executive board on Tuesday. If the board does go with the option to close Plas Madoc, due processes will need to be followed and this will go beyond April 1.”

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  1. Posted by: adie100965 at 11:51 on 07 February 2014 Report

    Plas Madoc Leisure Centre , has been the heart of the community for many years. Wrexham Council are employed by the descent hardworking people of Wrexham., and not for themselves. It’s disappointing Wrexham Council do not have the intelligence to resolve this issue, rather than foster their own view.

  2. Posted by: adie100965 at 11:55 on 07 February 2014 Report

    Dr Helen Paterson, I challenge you to do your job, and represent the people of Wrexham, rather than your Political Masers. Or are you just content to receive your £100,000 pounds plus, a year, and yet again betray the Wrexham People.

  3. Posted by: adie100965 at 12:03 on 07 February 2014 Report

    It’s not uncommon for Supermarkets to get involve with certain projects within the community. Has anyone considered asking Tesco’s for financial support ! Let’s be honest, Tesco’s needs the support of the community to maintain it’s business.

  4. Posted by: truth hurts at 14:20 on 07 February 2014 Report

    Must you always seek to put forward the Plaid view and ignore every other political party? Why don't you consider a balanced, fair reporting of matters in the future? Who knows, your readers may even start taking you seriously if you do!

  5. Posted by: adie100965 at 16:04 on 07 February 2014 Report

    Thank you for your comments "truth hurts" what view do you foster to help Plas Madoc Leisure Centre, due to austerity measure imposed by central government, are Wrexham Council being responsible in their quest to save money!

  6. Posted by: Wrexham-gal at 19:21 on 07 February 2014 Report

    Well folk, lets remember is LABOUR in power in Wales. With the poorest educational results in the UK and worst performing NHS...this is LABOURS legacy. Remember this in May 2015. But of course you wont...sheep!

  7. Posted by: Wrexham-gal at 19:24 on 07 February 2014 Report

    Well folk, lets remember is LABOUR in power in Wales. With the poorest educational results in the UK and worst performing NHS...this is LABOURS legacy. Remember this in May 2015. But of course you wont...sheep!

  8. Posted by: adie100965 at 01:47 on 08 February 2014 Report

    Wrexham-gal , is very convenient to be political and accuse Labour for their short comings. It’s a pity you didn’t use your high intellect to educate our apathetic indolence in the right direction, as you are a sheep, undoubtedly your doctrine followed the wrong shepherd

  9. Posted by: Wrexham-gal at 03:03 on 08 February 2014 Report

    @adie...labour over the last 15yrs has been the failure of th UK with its illegal wars and corrupt fiscal management. Go on defend the I said bahh..!

  10. Posted by: adie100965 at 12:15 on 08 February 2014 Report

    Wrexham-gal no one can defend the indefensible, no one wins a war, but a war itself, Blair’s comeuppance is demonstrated through the court of public opinion. As for fiscal corruption, this has been going on for years, and will continue to do so, irrelevant of which political creed you support. We the people do not get to hear about it!!

  11. Posted by: Wrexham-gal at 17:20 on 08 February 2014 Report

    @aide. The fact is labour is in power in Wales and we have the worst of the worst in terms of public services. As a devolved Gt, with responsibility lies with LABOUR and its in there interest to govern poorly as the as they seek to blame central Gt.

  12. Posted by: adie100965 at 00:43 on 09 February 2014 Report

    Wrexham-gal , your contention regarding Public Service I do agree, however, scathing about them will not resolve the problem. The people have a weapon which politicians fear, therein, the right to vote. For governments to change the people need to change, then protest through logic and reason.

  13. Posted by: adie100965 at 00:52 on 09 February 2014 Report

    Sub Note, Remember Wrexham-gal, The Government, Local Authorities first and foremost responsibility is to the people. They work for us. You need to remind them of this factor, albeit, they foster their own personal agenda.

  14. Posted by: Wrexham-gal at 11:30 on 09 February 2014 Report

    FFS...@aide, in my original post I end with the line...LABOURS legacy. Remember this in May 2015. But of course you wont...sheep! Even though labour are ruining Wales, idiots will still vote them in. We should be highlighting where labour are going wrong so ppl realise its crap labour politics. Maybe then we will get change?

  15. Posted by: Maredl391 at 17:49 on 10 February 2014 Report

    I agree with Wrexham-gal. We should remember that Carwyn Jones has no care for us up in the North. As for Tesco, over the weekend they sent a fleet of lorries down to Somerset to help the Farmers, hats off to them for that.

  16. Posted by: Y Ffin at 20:53 on 10 February 2014 Report

    Obviously people who use Plas Madoc Leisure Centre are angry, but the council is in a no win situation: its budget has been cut, school spending is protected, social care costs are rising exponentially, the weather has sucked up the highways budget, attempts to hand over housing failed etc etc. Hopefully they will allow more time for a solution, but setting up an honest transparent community trust takes time and after the Plas Madoc Community First fraud convictions the omens aren't good.

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