Local AM fights for solution to Clwyd Leisure problem in the Senedd

Labour AM for the Vale of Clwyd, Ann Jones has called for the Welsh Government to consider intervening in the on-going saga between Denbighshire County Council and Clwyd Leisure Ltd, the arm’s-length company which operates Prestatyn’s Nova and Indoor Bowls Centre and Rhyl’s Sun Centre.

Speaking in the Chamber, Mrs Jones said: “These facilities have been run by an arm’s-length company, which has now decided that it will close all of them. Is there anything that your officials can do to assist local authorities that may have outsourced vital facilities in the leisure industry and are now facing this issue? A vast amount of people use those facilities for the benefit of their health and wellbeing and also as part of GP referral systems. They will have no access whatsoever to leisure facilities unless they can pay for private leisure gyms, which, of course, in an area of deprivation, is not possible. What can the Welsh Government do to assist local authorities to ensure that people have equal access to leisure facilities within their boundaries?”

In response, the Minister for Culture and Sport – John Griffiths said: “I have written to local authorities to stress the cross-cutting benefits of these leisure and recreational facilities, knowing that they face very difficult budgetary decisions. I think that it is absolutely right that those decisions should be taken in the knowledge of the importance of these facilities, as well as the knowledge that, once a facility is closed, it is very expensive and difficult to bring it back into operation. My officials, Sport Wales officials and the WLGA are in close contact with local authorities at these difficult times, and I hope that, working together, we can find a way through that does deliver for our communities.

Following the debate, Mrs Jones said: “I am reassured that the Minister will work with the Council and do what it can to keep these facilities. The facilities are vital for our local economy and people’s health and wellbeing. It is important that the pressure on Denbighshire Council is kept up and I do welcome any moves that may see the facilities stay open for good”.

Mrs Jones has written to the Minister separately asking him to consider taking appropriate action to ensure that the facilities stay open.