Posted: Thu 22nd Oct 2020

Denbighshire leisure company director ‘very disappointed’ at lack of clarity for sector over fire-break lockdown

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Oct 22nd, 2020

A director of a council-owned leisure company says she very disappointed Welsh Government isn’t talking about what happens to her sector after the “fire-break” lock down.

Denbighshire councillor Bobby Feeley, who represents Ruthin ward and is lead member for well-being and independence, is also a director of Denbighshire Leisure Ltd.

She was speaking out during a cabinet discussion on the authority’s financial position going into the third quarter of the fiscal year.

Cllr Feeley said there had been “no mention” about what would happen with leisure facilities after November 9, when the latest lock down is due to be released.

The firm lists Prestatyn Nova Centre and SC2 in Rhyl as two of its major assets.

Welsh Government has compensated councils for loss of revenue from quarters one and two in this financial year but the future is uncertain she claimed.

All leisure facilities run by the company will close their doors on Friday for the 17-day restrictions, imposed to halt the spread of Covid-19.

Speaking at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, she said: “I am very disappointed that Welsh Government hasn’t even mentioned compensation for the leisure sector.

“I am just wondering what news there will be for the next quarter.

“There’s no news about what will happen after November 9. We need to know what will happen afterwards.

“This is such an important part of our wellbeing and mental health I find it astounding they haven’t mentioned the leisure sector, individually, in these tough times.”

Council leader, Cllr Hugh Evans, said he sensed “pressure within Welsh Government” to deal with all the problems it was facing.

He added: “I’m not defending them but that’s a fact – especially with leisure this summer.

“They are aware of the issues. I have to say Welsh Government are being really open and willing to engage with this.

“For the first time it’s been really good and different to what is happening in England.”

Meanwhile Julian Thonpson-Hill said the council predicted its overspend this year to be £5.107m, down from £5.221m last month.

However, that assumed no income loss from the quarter two payments from Welsh Government, which are still being processed.

Denbigh Cllr Mark Young, lead member for planning, public protection and safer communities, said: “This is possibly the most challenging period for Denbighshire council.”

By Jez Hemming – Local Democracy Reporter

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