Aura's new era
At the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 18 July, Flintshire County Council and Aura Leisure and Libraries Ltd (Aura) reached agreement on all financial matters.
This means that Aura, an employee owned and charitable company, will start to manage leisure, libraries and heritage services in the county from 1 September 2017.
They also announced investment of over £3m in sports and leisure facilities in Flintshire. Improvement work on all main leisure centres will be carried out and will include work to essential plant, machinery and the building fabric. Investment in the all-weather pitches at Mold Alun School, Hawarden High School and two of the six 3G pitches at Deeside Leisure Centre will see them all replaced and upgraded.
Plans for New health and fitness facilities are being developed for Mold Leisure Centre and Jade Jones Pavilion, including new changing rooms at the swimming pool in Flint. This will greatly improve the experience for existing customers and attract new customers to both centres. This is the first phase of new developments with later developments being considered for other towns.
Leader of the Council, Councillor Aaron Shotton, said:
"It is fantastic to see the start of this new company which is owned by our current Council employees. We will work co-operatively with Aura which means, rather than having to consider the future of some of our leisure centres and libraries, we are jointly securing jobs and investing in our leisure centres to make them better for our residents."
Christine Edwards, Chair of Aura Leisure and Libraries, said:
"This is a huge milestone for Aura Leisure and Libraries. The Board has been working really hard with employees to ensure that services are improved and that customers see a real benefit. The announcement of two new health and fitness facilities which the company is investing in shows our commitment to make a significant difference for the residents of Flintshire."
Cabinet Member for Education and Youth, Councillor Ian Roberts, said:
"This work, along with the Community Asset Transfers of Holywell Leisure Centre and Connah's Quay Swimming Pool, is the reason we can proudly say Flintshire Council has retained all its leisure centres while having to make a 30% reduction in the annual budget for these services, along with announcing major capital investment - this is a quite remarkable achievement."