Posted: Fri 19th Apr 2024

Merthyr Tydfil Council “Still Confident” in Resolving Future of Leisure Services /

Merthyr Tydfil council is “still confident” it can come to an amicable resolution over the future of leisure services including Aberfan and Merthyr Vale Community Centre.
That was the view expressed by the deputy chief executive of Merthyr Tydfil council at a full council meeting on Wednesday, April 17.
Following on from last month’s full council meeting where the safeguarding of
Aberfan and Merthyr Vale Community Centre was one of the focal points a formal approach has again been made by the authority to the Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Trust (Wellbeing Merthyr) board regarding the future management of the centre.
As of the date the report was written the council had not received any response from the MTLT board or their legal representatives in respect
of either Aberfan and Merthyr Vale Community Centre or the safeguarding of the provision of leisure services from the centre.
The report said: “Until a formal request is made by the trustees in relation to the Aberfan and Merthyr Vale Community Centre the council is unable to move forward in respect of the provision of services currently run from the centre or undertake any associated due diligence exercise.
“Council officers will continue to pursue this issue with the MTLT board. It is
important to understand that the council will not be in a position to provide leisure services from Aberfan and Merthyr Vale Community Centre without MTLT board cooperation.”
The report said if a request is received in relation to the Aberfan and Merthyr Vale Community Centre a due diligence exercise is required which will see the authority spend a period of time to better understand the legal and financial liabilities associated with the centre such as a full structural review, current contracts, and debts among other things.
The council said it is continuing to work with an alternative leisure service provider, which cannot be named due to the contract not yet being entered into, to potentially take over provision of leisure services that fall under the current contract.
If a request is made for the council to run services from Aberfan and Merthyr Vale Community Centre then a further conversation can be had with the alternative leisure service provider, the report said.
But until a request is received from the MTLT board in relation to Aberfan and Merthyr Vale Community Centre the council cannot approach the Charity Commission to obtain any advice.
The council said it expects the TUPE process to commence shortly, which will include a consultation exercise with their staff and union members, and it said it is continuing to engage and liaise with MTLT in order for a smooth transition of assets and services after the contract terminates on April 30, 2024.
Alyn Owen, the deputy chief executive, said there had been no response from the trust but they were continuing to make a link on a daily basis.
Responding to a question from Councillor Anna Williams-Price about what further action they could take if they get no response Mr Owen said they were not at that situation yet but he was “still confident” they can come to an amicable resolution within the timeframe
Cllr Darren Roberts, who represents the Merthyr Vale ward, asked if they could invite the trustees and their legal representatives to a council meeting to find out why they are putting the centre at risk by not engaging.
Cllr Brent Carter moved an amendment, which was accepted, to arrange a special council meeting if the situation demands it.
He said members of both the Labour and independent groups were acutely aware of the history, feeling, and emotion of Aberfan and the significance of the centre.
He said the trust had a moral duty to the right thing for the people of Aberfan and Merthyr Vale.
Mr Owen said the leader and cabinet have been involved in daily discussions and the leader of the council, Geraint Thomas, said he was really supportive of the residents of Aberfan and the local councillors and it was a priority to keep the doors open.
He said the trust are only custodians and called on them to “give us back the keys.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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