Tuesday, 13 December 2016

People power saves Plas Madoc

A leading Plaid Cymru activist has praised people power for saving Plas Madoc Leisure Centre after it was given a £50,000 lifeline in a remarkable u-turn today by Wrexham Council.

The council's executive board had been expected to refuse the funding, as was recommended by council officers, on the basis that cooperative running Plas Madoc Leisure Centre was losing money.

However, in his presentation, the lead member for leisure services Hugh Jones conceded that the community-run trust had performed exceptionally in its first two years to turn a £550,000 deficit (when the centre was run by the council) into one in the tens of thousands.

The £50,000 grant - which appeared as if by magic from a pot of money held in reserve - will help the Trust meet its running costs and comes on the back of a £500,000 Welsh Government grant to make essential repairs to outdated equipment.

Marc Jones, who fought to keep Plas Madoc open back in 2014 and was at today's meeting with other campaigners, said:
"It was quite a dramatic turnaround, to say the least, and wrong-footed most of the councillors present.
 "Of course it's wonderful news and will provide all the hard-working volunteers and staff at Plas Madoc with security for the future. On top of that, it means work on essential maintenance and improving the centre can take place.
 "There's no doubt that there are weaknesses in the way the Trust is operating and that will hopefully be addressed in the coming weeks and months, but the main thing is that it will remain open for the foreseeable future.
 "Cynics will say that the coming council elections helped focus executive board members' minds but I prefer to think of it as people power winning the day."

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