WORK to thrash out a business agreement between Wrexham Council and the group looking to reopen Plas Madoc Leisure Centre will begin today.
The council’s executive board voted six to two against a motion to grant the Splash Community Trust a cash injection of £50,000 at a meeting on Tuesday.
Cllr Hugh Jones told the meeting a report would be brought before the next executive board meeting in September to decide whether to give the green light to the trust’s bid to take over the Acrefair facility, which closed in April.
Splash Trust chairman Darrell Wright remained upbeat, telling the Leader meetings with council officers to discuss the business plan ahead of next month’s crunch meeting would begin today.
Mr Wright also confirmed the trust had sought advice from an independent third party as to the viability of their business plan in order to get an impartial assessment.
He said: “The motion was defeated but it was always on the cards that subject to the business plan, the council would look favourably on us.”
Cllr David A. Bithell, leader of Wrexham Independent group, said he was disappointed the motion, which would only have seen the trust granted the money if their business plan was proved viable, did not succeed.
And Cllr Bithell hit out at the executive board members who voted against the motion, which he and fellow Wrexham Independent councillor Joan Lowe submitted last month.
He said: “It’s quite clear the current administration running Wrexham Council do not want Plas Madoc to reopen in any shape or form.
“They rejected the alternative budget put forward on February 26, which would have saved Plas Madoc, and they have also rejected our motion.”
The executive board rejection came as a surprise to some as it came about two weeks after the Labour group on Wrexham Council reportedly voted to back the idea at a closed party meeting.
Cllr Bithell said: “It seems like there are a lot of party politics being played as Labour had said they would support £100,000 over two years.
“The next thing we will see in September is a knight in shining armour with Labour colours on the shield claiming we saved Plas Madoc.”
Cllr Derek Wright, who represents Cefn, said the six who voted against the motion were “wrong” to do so.
He said: “I can understand why the did it because finances are so tight but I still believe six councillors made the wrong decision. For what it was costing them previously to run the centre, they could have got away with it for £50,000 for two years.”
l In a report on Plas Madoc Leisure Centre in yesterday's Wrexham Leader we reported that Cllr Dana Davies declared an interest as she is a board member of the Splash Trust.
This should have read a relative of Cllr Davies is a board member.