CASH-STRAPPED Wrexham Council has been asked to grant upwards of £50,000 to help reopen a leisure centre it closed to save money.
Members of the Splash Community Trust, which is hoping to takeover Plas Madoc Leisure Centre, have made a last-ditch plea for a cash injection from the authority.
The trust, which aims to run the mothballed Acrefair facility from October, has written to all 52 Wrexham county councillors, lobbying them to request a cash guarantee from the local authority.
Trust chairman Darrell Wright said a cash guarantee of £160,000 over three years for Harlech Leisure Centre from Gwynedd Council, helped secure that facility’s future, and that a similar gesture from Wrexham Council for Plas Madoc would be a ‘godsend’.
He said a figure of around £50,000 could get the centre reopened, paving the way for the trust to apply for hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of grants.
He said he also hoped 20 new jobs could be created by a fully functioning Plas Madoc Leisure Centre.
At a meeting on Friday, the trust presented Wrexham Council with their business case for the centre, which was closed by Wrexham Council on March 27.
Members and Plas Madoc supporters now face an anxious two-week wait to find out if council officials will approve the plans.
Speaking to the Leader on Monday, Mr Wright said: “We’re in a Catch 22 situation, where we cannot apply for grants and community funding whilst the centre is closed. If we can get the centre open, even if it is just being run by volunteers, it would pave the way for us to apply for hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of grants which are out there.
“Harlech Leisure Centre was given a £160,000 cash guarantee by Gwynedd Council. Anything in the region of £50,000 from the council to get us off the ground would be a God-send.
“In an ideal world, we are looking at around £100,000, but £50,000 would give us a chance to open and ensure a cash flow. It’s difficult to pinpoint a figure for staffing, but if we were fully functioning I think we’d be looking at employing around 20 personnel. We want this to be a true community centre, so we would want to offer jobs to local people and give them the relevant training. However, if we reopen we would be looking for volunteers initially.”
Mr Wright said the trust’s business plan earmarked significant savings and stressed the intention is to break even, as opposed to Wrexham Council’s figures, which quoted the facility as costing the authority £500,000 per year.
“From our perspective we can make a lot of savings, and we think we have a good chance of breaking even or running at a small loss.
“But a cash guarantee really would help us, we have community councils and charitable trusts pledging to support us with cash, but none of them will commit to us unless our doors are open and there is a cash flow.
“The demand is there and they’ll come back if Plas Madoc is open.”