Council wants clarification over Rhyl Sun Centre and Prestatyn Nova lease offer

Published date: 24 January 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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DENBIGHSHIRE Council has said it needs further details over the future of staff before it can accept an offer to take back control of three tourist and leisure attractions.

Clwyd Leisure said on Thursday it would hand back the leases for Rhyl Sun Centre and The Nova Centre and North Wales Bowls Centre, both in Prestatyn,  to the council together with site and support staff.

The council will withdraw all funding for Clwyd Leisure, an arm's length non for profit company set up to run the facilities in 2001, as of April 1, and the company say they are on the verge of liquidation.

Denbighshire Council said it has “serious concerns” about the way Clwyd Leisure was being run as well as the operation of the facilities.

A Denbighshire Council spokesman said: “Clwyd Leisure suggested they were happy to give the leases and facilities back to the council.

“However, it still remains unclear how they intend to deal appropriately with their workforce, something which has been and still is our main concern.

“We are, therefore, writing to the company today to seek clarification on how they intend to deal with the workforce as this is a matter for the company and not the council. We are in contact with the union representatives and they share the very same concerns .

“We are also seeking further detail to their proposal as it seems they are still attempting to pass on liability to the council.

“The reason cabinet did not agree to take on ownership of the company and leases is because of the huge liabilities around staffing, with many staff without employment contracts, and appropriate checks etc.

“We are also requiring from the company a detailed breakdown of the way they are allocating their cash reserves during the process of winding up the company as we want to make sure the best use of money provided by the Council and that it is being used appropriately during the process.

“Until such time as the company can provide us with clarity on how they intend to resolve these employment issues with the work force, the council is still not in a position to fully agree to this proposal.”

Clwyd Leisure said the reduction in council funding from £391,000 a year in 2001 to £195,000 in 2014/15 has meant they have lost out on funding which would have been reinvested in the facilities.

The remaining grant that would have been provided to Clwyd Leisure in 2014/15 will now be set aside to promote leisure, tourism and events.

Up to 70 permanent and 55 seasonal jobs are at risk. 

Clwyd Leisure said it was prepared to hand over to the council all the fixed assets and equipment of the company and a sum of £75,000 with a  commitment to provide further funds if they are available after closedown.

The council spokesman added:  “If and when the company clarifies it's position and we are satisfied we can take the facilities back into our control, the council will then consider its position in relation to operating the facilities and make the best use of the skills of the current workforce through the appropriate recruitment process.

“We have made a commitment to ensure that, where possible, we would give those who have lost employment the first opportunity for interview to be re-employed but we need to be clear that everyone will have to go through the appropriate processes.

“We recognise that people currently employed by the company will not have appropriate references and checks and we are unclear on current training needs. Therefore we have supported the principle that the staff impacted would be given first opportunity before we consider advertising more widely but we can only implement this way of working once the company has dissolved.

“If and when we get the facilities back, our intention is to invite members to take a tour of the facilities so they can fully appreciate the sizeable task ahead in making them operational and fit for use.

”At this time we are not permitted to enter into further negotiations or discussions regarding the facilities until we have further clarification on employment matters.”

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