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Calls to Welsh Government to help save Gwynedd community run swimming pool

Harlech Leisure Centre

A POLITICIAN has urged the Welsh Government to help the campaign to safeguard the cash-strapped Harlech swimming pool.

Public meetings have been held this week in Harlech and Talsarnau, to gather support to save the Harlech and Ardudwy Leisure centre pool from closure.

Due to the recent hike in energy, with prices spiralling from £4,000 to £12,000 a month, the site reported being in “significant financial difficulties”.

This week Harlech and Llanbedr Councillor Gwynfor Owen urged local people to discuss ways to save the “vital rural” community-owned asset.

Now, Plaid Cymru MS for Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Mabon ap Gwynfor, has raised the matter with First Minister Mark Drakeford.

He has urged the Welsh Government to help avert the facility’s closure at the end of the month.

The pool has been community run since 2010, with the swimming pool, cafe and climbing wall open to the community and visitors to the area.

Raising the matter during First Minister’s Questions, Mr ap Gwynfor urged the First Minister to commit to providing both short and long-term support to help secure the swimming pool’s future as a community resource.

Speaking in the Senedd, he said: “Eleven days ago, I received a message from the voluntary board of Harlech and Ardudwy Leisure announcing with sadness that they would have to close the swimming pool at the end of this month.

“The announcement comes as a result of an appalling increase in their costs.

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“The cost of the centre has increased from £4,000 per month to £12,000 per month, and this £12,000 includes the UK Government energy support scheme.

“Investment in solar panels and new machinery would be a great help in the longer term, but they’re facing the crisis now.

“Fair play to Gwynedd Council, they have provided short-term support that will keep the wolf from the door.

“But they have to find capital as a matter of urgency to secure the viability of this important community asset.

“What support can you provide to Harlech and Ardudwy Leisure in the short term, and what support can the Government provide to ensure the viability of the centre in the longer term?”

In response, Mr Drakeford said: “I’ve heard about the issues that they face in Harlech, and, of course, we are open to any discussions that local individuals might want to have through the local council, and also through Sport Wales.

“Initially, it is a local issue, and in the first instance, it’s important that they have those conversations with the local authority.

“If there is something that we can do, then, of course, we are willing to look into any bid that local people want to make.”