Posted: Wed 5th Jun 2024

Flintshire Council and Aura to hold further talks on future of leisure service

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

A charitable organisation which provides leisure services in Flintshire could be given a reprieve after senior councillors agreed to hold further talks.

Flintshire Council has recently been in dispute with Aura Wales, which has managed most leisure centres, libraries, museums and play areas in the county since 2017.

It was reported in March that officials were considering withdrawing financial support when the local authority’s contract with the employee-owned company was due to end on March 31.

While a short-term funding deal was later rubber-stamped, a leaked report revealed a significant deterioration in relations between the two parties.

Two meetings were held in private last week to discuss how the services will be provided in future, the outcome of which has now been made public on the council’s website.

During a special meeting last Tuesday (May 28, 2024), members of the authority’s backbench education, youth and culture scrutiny committee called on the ruling administration to seek a fresh agreement with Aura.

The committee also said information on the council’s position had been “hard to obtain and lacking in detail”.

On Thursday, cabinet members tasked officers with exploring the option of providing Aura with a new long-term grant.

A decision notice shows this is subject to the company accepting a short-term arrangement in the meantime.

Senior councillors also put forward a fall-back plan which would see the council create its own local authority trading company to provide the services if talks fail. Aura’s current contract is due to end in mid-July.

In a separate move, the council has called in a specialist leisure consultancy firm to assist in deciding how the services impacted will be provided.

 

By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter

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