Stay of execution for Flintshire leisure centres

Reporter:

Matt Jones

THREE Flintshire leisure centres look set to stay open to the public.

Centres at Connah’s Quay High School, Castell Alun in Hope and St David’s High School in Saltney could stay open to the public out of school hours, on weekends and in school holidays.

A decision will be made by the council’s executive on Tuesday as it was revealed all of the county’s nine leisure centres are subsidised – costing the taxpayer £3m a year.

If school governing bodies cannot come to an agreement to take over the the centres, Flintshire Council has said it could step in and run the sites.

Cost-cutting plans, including running centres with one member of staff at some times and centralised administration, were presented to the lifelong learning and overview committee after a council call-in.

Cllr Bernie Attridge, a governor at Connah’s Quay High School, said: “The first report that came through regarding sports centres was, if the school could not take it on then the option was to close for community use. There has been a u-turn. They have listened, but there are still issues that need to be explored.”

Flintshire Council’s director of lifelong learning Ian Budd said: “If the schools do not want to take them on there can be a transfer of control to the local authority.

“What I am envisaging is an agreement of a transfer of control from the school to the local authority as far as the operation of community facilities outside school hours.”

Discussions with schools are ongoing with further details to be released at Tuesday’s meeting.

But council chief executive Colin Everett said there were never any plans to close the sites and that discussions centred over dual use of the sites and operation costs.

The report shown to councillors said managers within the leisure service “remain clear” that staffing costs can be reduced while community access can continue.

See full story in the Leader

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