Black country

Walsall leisure centre and Bryntysilio centre to close

A school party takes part in mountaineering at Bryntysilio
Image caption School groups have been visiting Bryntysilio since 1968

A Black Country leisure centre and an outward bounds centre in north Wales are to close, a council has decided.

Walsall Council leases Bryntysilio residential activity centre for £500,000 a year, and Willenhall Leisure Centre costs it some £400,000 annually.

The council said said the activity centre had failed to attract extra school customers, despite more funding.

The leisure centre shuts on 1 September but it is not known when the activity centre in Denbighshire will close.

The council has had a partnership with the trustees of Bryntysilio dating back to the 1960s.

The future of the centre, near Llangollen, has been under discussion for about nine months as the council looked at "the best and most cost-effective option" for the borough's schoolchildren who use the centre.

'Not easy'

Council officers recommended the two closures last month.

Councillor Anthony Harris, cabinet member for leisure and culture said last month: "Sadly, we have not been able to attract new schools to make use of Bryntysilio, which was our main goal.

"It's past its sell-by date and we know there are other centres more local to Walsall, as well as elsewhere nationally, that we could use where more schoolchildren can visit at a much lower cost.

"No decision has been made yet on the timing of the closure but we will honour the school bookings already made for 2010 and the early part of 2011."

Attendance at Willenhall Leisure Centre has decreased by 20% since April, the council said.

Studies completed earlier this year by Sport England and Strategic Leisure have indicated there is a "very significant over-provision" of swimming in the borough, with more than twice as many pools as needed, the council said.

"This has by no means been an easy decision," Mr Harris said.

"But, frankly, we can't afford to keep it open.

"We're in a difficult financial position and tough decisions have to be made."

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