Bosses behind a swimming pool transferred from local authority management want it to be self-sufficient by 2020.

Simon Morgan, director of Cambrian Aquatics, told members of Connah’s Quay Town Council that he hopes the company will no longer have to rely on council support for the town’s swimming pool within three years.

Cambrian Aquatics, a not-for-profit social enterprise, took over the running of what was then called Connah’s Quay swimming baths, from Flintshire Council in a community asset transfer in May 2016.

Mr Morgan was updating councillors on the first year of operations at the renamed Cambrian Aquatics Sports Centre.

He said that 18 months on “it feels like we’re on track to build a sustainable business” and that there had been “a solid start to operations in the first year.” Mr Morgan admitted however that the company did still face some financial challenges before becoming fully self-sufficient.

A cash flow of £50,000 is required before subsidies from Flintshire Council and Connah’s Quay Town Council can be reduced, Mr Morgan said.

He added: “We want to get to a position where we’re not relying on grants but I think we’re a few years away from that.”

Some financial assistance had been received from Queensferry Community Council and businesses including Anwyl Homes, Persimmon Homes and Toyota. Since taking over the running of the pool, Mr Morgan said 33 staff had been recruited with the equivalent of 14 full-time employment posts created.

Access to public swim has doubled while the number of users of the learn to swim programme had increased for 640 to 1,005.

Investment has been made into the pool and its facilities while a first-of-its-kind apprenticeship scheme has been established with Coleg Cambria.

Mr Morgan conceded that “cash flow will remain a problem” and energy costs had increased quicker than expected.

The pool had recorded an operating loss of £16,440, which was “a lot better than anticipated” while savings of £160,000 were made.

He said: ” We’re working with Wheelabrator (Parc Adfer developers), Asda and Morrisons to try and help us move forward.”

Cllr Bernie Attridge paid tribute to the work done by the Cambrian Aquatics team in taking over the pool.

He said: “When we came together last year, the writing was on the wall. If we’d not done that, it would’ve certainly been on the cards to close this year if not last.

“I made a personal commitment to go to the wall to protect those baths.

“The achievement of where it was to where it is now, it’s totally changed, it’s fantastic.”

Cllr Chris Risley said the directors had “kept true to their word” and developed the public swim figures while Cllr Gill Faulkner added that the committee “has always been committed and connected.”

Cllr Ian Dunbar said: “It was a certainty it was going to close and every time there’s a CAT meeting, Flintshire Council say what a good job it was.”

Cllr Andy Dunbobbin added: “It doesn’t seem that long ago we had those initial conversations.

“There’s a lot of learning to be had from this and it demonstrates such a huge success story to tell.”

Cllr Alan Roberts said: “It’s Flintshire’s baths, not just Connah’s Quay’s.

“To me, the other councils should be named and shamed who haven’t helped.”