A LEISURE centre which has served its community for more than 40 years has finally shut down.
The curtain was brought down on Plas Madoc Leisure Centre yesterday at 5pm, as staff locked up for one last time, surrounded by hundreds of emotional customers who had earlier met to take part in a protest against the closure.
Campaigners staged a ‘dry swim’ at 3.30pm on Sunday, walking around the centre with some wearing fancy dress.
The Acrefair facility, which opened in February 1974, will today be mothballed by the council, although the swimming pool will not be drained.
The newly-formed Splash Community Trust have until October 1 to raise enough cash to take over the centre, which costs about £500,000 per year to run.
If the community trust cannot successfully take over the running of the facility it will be demolished in October.
Speaking to the crowds, chairman of the trust, Darrell Wright, said: “This is a very sad day for the centre. The staff have been working under extreme pressure these past few weeks and the closure will affect them worst of all.
“We have had to battle with the council but I’ll be damned if this is the end for Plas Madoc and we will do everything in our power to get it reopened.”
Clwyd South AM, Ken Skates, said there was plenty of “positivity and optimism” the trust could be successful in its takeover bid.
“A fantastic amount of hard work has been going on over the past few months”,
“We have achieved so much in a relatively short space of time, and there is a lot of positivity and optimism.
“Bank accounts are being set up, fundraising ideas are being discussed and events are being planned, and over Easter the trust has been working on marketing material. There’s a lot going on, and we will be looking to hold another public meeting in the next few weeks to keep the public up to date with developments.
“As we have said all along, the people are key to saving Plas Madoc, and we need the public’s support now more than ever.”
Johnstown councillor David A Bithell, leader of Wrexham Independents, said: “This is one of the worst decisions made by a Labour council, the so-called party of the people. They will regret the day they voted to close Plas Madoc as I am sure the public will never forget and remind them at the next election.”
Cllr David Griffiths, Lead Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “We are doing everything we can to support the Trust take on the lease and to achieve their goal of re-opening Plas Madoc Leisure Centre. We will continue to work with them to that end.”
In relation to the mothballing, a Wrexham Council spokesman said: “The pool will not be drained and it will continue to be monitored regularly to ensure the system operates correctly which will ensure that the pool could be used from day one. All items of value will be removed and the building and the underpass will then be secured.”
The authority were unable to provide details of how much the mothballing will cost.