Council officials will meet today (Wednesday 13 January) to consider a recommendation to sell Cymmer Pool to a community partnership for £1.
Campaigners hope the Council will approve the sale, enabling them to keep the facility open through a partnership agreement struck between a new community company and a commercial division of Neath Port Talbot College, Llandarcy Park Ltd.
The community company, Afan Valley Community Leisure (AVCL) was set up after the Council announced it would close Cymmer Pool as part of its programme of cutbacks.
AVCL’s secretary, Hayley Phillips, said: “The partnership agreement is a major breakthrough in our plans to keep swimming in the Afan Valley. We believe that in working with a well-known and experienced leisure facility operator such as Llandarcy Park Ltd we are no longer at just looking at survival, we are planning expansion and innovation for the patrons and users of both Cymmer Pool and Llandarcy Park.”
The Council decided in February 2015 that it was no longer in a position to continue subsidising the operation of the Pool due to very low usage. The Council subsidy, which was extended temporarily, came to an end on 31 December 2015 and the Pool has now ceased to operate as a facility run by Celtic Leisure on behalf of the Council.
A Council spokesperson said: “All of 2015 was spent consulting with the community and considering options for the future of the Pool, a process facilitated by Neath Port Talbot CVS.
“This recommendation to Councillors enables the community to take full ownership of the facility and move matters forward, having formed Afan Valley Community Leisure for this purpose and appointed Neath Port Talbot College Group to operate the pool on their behalf. In these exceptional circumstances it is proposed to transfer the Pool to a subsidiary company of the College for a nominal pound and we wish the new venture every success.”
Hayley Phillips added: “We will begin discussions with Llandarcy Park in the New Year to put bring these exciting proposals to reality. At the moment we will have to reach agreement with the boards of all the organisations involved with a view to a major launch of this project by April 2016.”