THREE under threat leisure centres have been saved after a long-running battle over their futures.
It was feared the facilities at Connah’s Quay High School, Castell Alun in Hope and St David’s High School in Saltney, would close to the public as part of a Flintshire Council cost cutting measure.
However, a deal has now been struck between Flintshire Council and school governors to keep the sites open out of school hours.
Plans to close the sites to the public were revealed by council bosses last October, but after a public outcry the centres were granted a stay of execution to allow their futures to be discussed.
The schools have now agreed to share the running of the centres with the council in a bid to reduce costs.
Cllr Bernie Attridge, a governor at Connah’s Quay High School, said the future of community use at the site was now “safe and secure”.
He said: “All outstanding issues have been resolved. We are going to see, as a governing body, how it will work for the next 12 months and will review it afterwards.
“I’m pleased we have been able to come to an agreement with the county council. I was fearful at the time the sports centre would close for community use. I’m glad this was an option for us and not the final nail in the coffin of community use at the centre.”
The original plans were part of controversial cost-cutting measures which included cutting 60 jobs and closing the crèche at Flint Pavilion.
Council bosses said the cuts were the only way to cancel a massive overspend on leisure services in recent years.
Saltney Mold Junction councillor Klaus Armstrong-Braun, a governor at St David’s, said he was delighted with the news.
He said: “I am now hoping this leisure centre can be a place for people of all ages to go and use the facilities. This is for the community so they can go and have somewhere to meet and talk.
”This is good news for Saltney.
“I do hope people will now use the centre more. If they do not they could lose it.”
A Flintshire Council spokesman said: “All three high schools have entered into agreements with the council which will ensure continued community use of the sports facilities.”
Cllr Attridge said he would now lobby the council for more investment in Connah’s Quay after leisure company Alliance Leisure and the council outlined plans for a £1million development which will bring a 10-pin bowling alley and indoor crown green bowls centre to Flint Pavilion Leisure Centre.
The council’s partnership with Alliance Leisure has already seen ambitious plans for a multi-million pound redevelopment at Deeside Leisure Centre.
Information about facilities at all the county’s leisure centres is available on 0845 603 2121 or www.flintshire.gov.uk/leisure.