A MOTION to grant a £50,000 lifeline to help reopen Plas Madoc Leisure Centre has been voted down.
Wrexham Council’s executive board voted by six to two to reject a motion submitted by Wrexham Independents councillors David A. Bithell and Joan Lowe at yesterday’s executive board meeting.
The proposal to extend the demolition date until the end of October was also denied as part of the same motion.
The vote comes weeks after reports that the Labour group on Wrexham council voted to support the motion at a closed meeting.
Political opponents called the rejection a “kick in the teeth”.
Heartfelt pleas were heard from councillors at the meeting asking the executive board to back to cash support proposal.
Cllr Bithell said the motion made financial sense given the potential cost of demolishing the centre to the council, believed to be between £250,000 and £300,000.
But Cllr Hugh Jones said he had to resist the motion because the council was not in a strong financial position and any grant would mean cuts elsewhere to the leisure budget.
Cllr Jones said a detailed business plan, submitted by Splash Community Trust last week, was being scrutinised by council officers ahead of being brought before the executive board in September.
And if the plan is deemed viable, Cllr Jones said the council would “do all it can” help secure the future of the Acrefair facility.
He added: “It costs us £10,000 each month Plas Madoc remains mothballed but if a lease was agreed following the due diligence process, I can assure you the council will do all it can to facilitate the lease being carried out.”
Cllr Derek Wright, who represents Cefn, raised fears about the increasing number of children swimming in the River Dee since the centre closed at the end of April.
He said: “In the Cefn and Trefor area there has been a noticeable increase in the number of people playing unsupervised in or around the River Dee.
“I have not seen numbers like this since the 1970s. One of the initial reasons for the centre being built was to stop young people drowning in the river.”
Cefn councillor Dave Taylor echoed Cllr Wright’s concerns and said reopening the centre was “crucial” to the area.
He said: “How is it going to look if one of the children has an accident or, god forbid, dies in the river?
“For an extra £10,000 to give the trust an extra month and £50,000 to help them obtain funding makes common sense.”
Cllr Malcolm King, lead member for policy, finance, performance and governance, said it was in the community’s “best interests” to see the trust succeed in taking over the facility.
But he raised concerns about investing in an organisation which could turn out not to be viable.
He said: “I am totally supportive of the sentiment put forward today but I do feel it is slightly premature.”
Cllr Jones will present a report on the trust’s business plan for consideration at the next executive board meeting, to be held in September.