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Leisure and cultural services in Merthyr Tydfil set to return to council control

Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre (Pic: Google Maps)

LEISURE and cultural services in Merthyr Tydfil look set to return to council control.

In a statement, the council said it has agreed to work with Wellbeing Merthyr (formerly Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Trust) on a managed end of the existing contract for the county borough’s leisure and cultural services by March 31, 2024, which will see facilities return to the council.

The statement said due to the end of the current arrangement with Wellbeing Merthyr and the council being proactive in the need to safeguard leisure services, in January it said it had no choice but to find an alternative provider to manage the newly-refurbished Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre for an interim period.

This resulted in three well-established leisure providers applying for the interim leisure operations contract to manage Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre.

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, Wellbeing Merthyr spent a year presenting a number of redevelopment options for the leisure centre, all of which were deemed not adequate for a facility of that size and scope.

This resulted in the council deciding to take the lead, getting money from Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns and Salix funding programmes, as well as commissioning Alliance Leisure to design and manage a fit-for-purpose redevelopment of the facility.

As of February, the swimming pool was handed back to the council and after mandatory testing, recruitment and safety training, the council said that, in conjunction with the new provider, will be in a position to inform residents and the general public of the official opening day.

The swimming pool at Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre had been closed since December 2019 due to water leaks affecting the concrete and causing tiles to lift off.

The Covid lockdown hampered the work due to a tools and equipment shortage and further structural issues which had not previously been known about were discovered, so more investigatory work was required.

The redevelopment includes a 25m, six-lane main pool, a dedicated teaching pool, and a leisure pool with interactive water play. The changing facilities are also set to be updated and redesigned.

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