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Good news for leisure centres

RCT L

A report being presented to RCT Cabinet this week brings better news for users of leisure services across the County.

In May the Labour Cabinet deferred a decision on cutbacks to its leisure centres and swimming pools which would have meant the closure of several facilities including Hawthorn and Bronwydd pools and Llantwit Fardre leisure centre. The report being presented to the meeting on 31st July says that following a complete review of the service then those could be kept open.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Powell says this is good news but it does raise a number of questions.

"Of course nobody wants to see any of these centres close and it is excellent news that the Cabinet have now apparently done a U-turn and decided there is a way to keep them all open after all.

"However, the report states that the original proposals were to save £1.2million a year but that now they have looked at the service and the staffing structure and management in depth the new proposals will save £1.5million.

"This begs the question - why didn't they take a closer look at this before suggesting the savage cuts they did, and how many other examples could there be across the Council that would produce similar results and savings thus preventing closures? What about the theatres for example? Would a similar in depth review of those result in more innovative ways of working which could save the Muni?

"The report also talks about the possibility of looking to transfer leisure centres to a Trust, either an existing one or a newly created one. This could be a sensible way forward as a Trust is able to raise funds in a way which a Local Authority can't from private sponsorship or lottery funds for example. Any trust would, however, have to fully involve the wider community and business interests and not be dominated by political interests."

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