THE running of Denbighshire council’s leisure centres looks set to be outsourced, despite the failure of a similar venture three years ago.

Denbighshire county councillors say they have “learnt lessons” from the experience of Clwyd Leisure, which was set up to run attractions such as the Sun Centre in Rhyl.

The council ended up withdrawing the funding to Clwyd Leisure and the firm collapsed.

Cllr Julian Thompson-Hill, lead member for finance, said: “We have learnt lessons. This is a very different beast to what had been set up before, in terms of its legal structure and its interaction with the authority.

“Even though it’s a separate legal entity, we are the sole share holders so Denbighshire has the control.

“The lessons learnt have served us very well.”

Councillors were told at a special meeting that the new Local Authority Trading Company (LATC) will be different, with more control for the council over the company to ensure that similar problems do not arise again.

The council expects the new enterprise will save £800,000 in its first year through savings on VAT and non-domestic rates.

Cllr Bobby Feeley, lead member for well-being, told members of the full council: “The LATC now being proposed will continue to deliver an excellent service but in addition deliver significant financial benefits. The company would enable the service to trade more commercially and help sustain the service into the future, as well as making savings of around £800,000 for the council.”

She added: “This is about ensuring that key services largely associated with the leisure portfolio are able to thrive and respond to both current and future needs, and continue to provide the exceptional facilities our residents here in Denbighshire have grown to expect.

“It is my view that leisure is no longer a luxury add-on to statutory services; it is part of the well-being of future generations.”

The facilities proposed to be included are the county’s seven leisure centres as well as Prestatyn Nova, SC2, Rhyl Pavilion Theatre, Rhyl Events Arena and events function, North Wales Bowls, Rhyl Town Hall, Ruthin Craft Centre, Llangollen Pavilion, the 1891 restaurant, SC2, Café R and Strategic Leisure.

Councillors at the meeting voted by 31 votes to two in favour of approving the business plan.

The decision on giving the final go-ahead for the new company would have to be approved by full council before it would start trading on April 1 next year as planned.