School could step in to keep Flintshire leisure centre public

Reporter:

Andrew Boyd and Matt Jones

SCHOOL bosses have discussed plans to keep open a leisure centre which is threatened with closure.

Governors at St David’s High School, Saltney, looked at options for keeping the leisure centre open for public use in response to plans by Flintshire Council to turn the centre, and those at Connah’s Quay High School and Castell Alun in Hope, into school-only facilities.

And Flint Town Council has added its voice to widespread criticism following the proposed cost-cutting measures in leisure services which could also see the loss of canteen staff at centres in Holywell, Mold and Flint, the popular Swim Flintshire scheme being scrapped and the closure of the creche at Flint Pavilion.

St David’s governor and Saltney Mold Junction councillor Klaus Armstrong-Braun submitted a plan to set up the school’s leisure centre as a charity.

He said: “I think it is a good idea. There has been a 27 per cent increase in usage of the leisure centre. It defies sense for them to want to close it.

“This will leave the people of Saltney without a leisure facility. The leisure centre helps keep youngsters off the streets and we have pensioners using it as well, it is for all ages.”

Facilities at Hawarden High School and The Argoed, Mynydd Isa, are already being run as community-focused centres.

Tony Davidson, headteacher at the school said: “At a meeting the governors considered Flintshire Council’s Leisure Action Plan and the future of Saltney sports centre.

“A number of practical ideas were discussed.

“These remain confidential and will be conveyed to council officers via the usual means.

“Any individual governor who expresses a view on possible ways forward is speaking purely in an individual capacity and not on behalf of the governing body.”

Members of Flint Town Council at a recent council meeting vented their opposition to the proposals.

Cllr Ian Roberts, of Flint Castle ward, said he believed closing the facility in Flint would only save the council £8,000 a year and it took the majority of the takings for the three cafés.

Cllr Roberts said he feared the council was heading into “very dangerous waters” by pressing ahead with the plans, which he claimed were not connected with national Government cuts.

Councillors rejected the opportunity to respond to a consultation questionnaire from Flintshire Council on the proposals, after Cllr Alex Aldridge argued the matter should be dealt with by county councillors and not at town council level.

A consultation period will last until December when the action plan is brought back to Flintshire Council’s executive after members decided to extended the period due to public concern.

See full story in the Leader

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