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Friday, February 7, 2014

"We need help to take over Plas Madoc"

* The recent Plas Madoc protest.
Calls have been made for Wrexham Council to fund Plas Madoc Leisure Centre for five years while a community enterprise is set up to run the centre – otherwise it will be gone in 60 days, it is claimed.
Mabon ap Gwynfor, a regular user of the centre and speaking on behalf of Plaid Cymru in Clwyd South, said: “The proposal to set up a community enterprise to run Plas Madoc is an interesting one that needs further exploration. Anyone who attended the two demos at Plas Madoc and outside the Guildhall, as I have, will know the strength of feeling.

“But, as someone who was involved in setting up a community venture from scratch, I know from experience how much time it takes. Before the community and staff can make any meaningful decision on this, we need to have a full structural survey, a comprehensive repairs and maintenance schedule, details of employment rights and responsibilities and a fully costed business plan.

“There’s also the little matter of finding a way to bridge the current £500,000 annual deficit. Yes, there may be grants available but grants are dependent on business plans. They will not be available in 60 days.
“I note that the council leader says that Wrexham Council doesn’t have the capability to run the centre. With that in mind, I have to ask him how he thinks a community enterprise with no additional income stream would do so. I’m concerned that the council is setting the community to fail and would rather have guarantees that it will continue to fund the centre.
“If it won’t do that and the council genuinely wants Plas Madoc to stay open and succeed, it has to provide a parachute to enable the community to make this scheme work.
“When the council was withdrawing funding from The Venture and Caia Park Partnership, it did so over a number of years with a gradual taper. Why isn’t this being proposed for Plas Madoc? Why is Plas Madoc only being offered 60 days’ notice?”
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, said: “Like the rest of the local community, I want to see Plas Madoc stay open and with a clear funding structure to help it stay open. The strength of feeling from campaigners suggests there is the appetite for a community-run centre but that would clearly take some time to set up.
“The council must now show some support for the community, which feels badly let down by this hurried and frankly chaotic consultation. It makes sense to provide the guarantee of tapered funding while a community enterprise is established to run Plas Madoc. If they won’t provide that sort of funding, then it’s clear that talk of giving it to the community is just a bluff.”

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