THE future of a Flintshire leisure centre will be discussed in crucial talks with developers later this month.

Twelve development companies showed interest in the refurbishment of Deeside Leisure Centre but only two companies hand-picked by Flintshire council will go head to head in a bid for the project.

Cllr Dennis Hutchinson, executive member for leisure, reassured the Leader that plans are to modernise the leisure centre, not to build housing on the land as suggested by Cllr Tony Sharps at a meeting last month.

Cllr Hutchinson said: “There were some straight talking with Cllr Sharps after that meeting.

“Housing was an option two years ago when we started this process but it is extremely unlikely now in this age of recession.”

He added: “I have invited Cllr Sharps to the meeting with developers to show there are no hard feelings.

“There were 12 organisations who were interested in the project. We sent out the application forms and we got five back. Then we narrowed it down to the two we liked best.

“I can’t say who they are but I can say that they are experts in leisure facilities and come highly regarded. We feel we have the best in the industry.

“We will be listening to their presentations and are open to suggestions.”

Speaking at a meeting of the council's executive yesterday members and officers sang the praises of the leisure centre.

Ian Budd, director of lifelong learning, said: “We are renewing the facility to make sure it’s a really great environment.

“We recognise that it’s a major facility for Flintshire and the entire region. It is good news that the centre is facing this procurement exercise.”

Council chief executive Colin Everett said: “It is not just a local centre, it has regional significance. It is a key commitment that we will keep and I’m really pleased with the progress.”

Talks with developers will take place on Thursday, January 21.