LEASOWE Recreation Centre could be taken over by a housing association and used as part of a retirement village, Wirral Council said this week.
The plans were revealed by the council’s director of regeneration Alan Stennard at a public meeting held at the Lauries Centre, Birkenhead on Monday - the first of four area forums taking place this week to discuss the council’s controversial Strategic Asset Review.
The proposals could see more than a dozen libraries - including Wallasey Village Library - closed, three sports centres shut, and other leisure and community facilities moving away from council control.
Mr Stennard refused to reveal the names of other organisations interested in taking over buildings facing the axe - but confirmed Arena Housing Group, parent company for Leasowe Community Homes, was in the frame to take over Leasowe Recreation Centre.
He told the meeting: “In terms of Leasowe Recreation Centre, Arena have done a lot of work recently in Leasowe on things like the community centre and they’re keen to take over the pool to use it as part of a wider community facility.
“It would be part of a larger retirement village-type operation on the estate.”
He said Guinea Gap Baths, which is also facing closure, had been identified as a “key development opportunity” by the council along with the rest of the riverfront area, describing it as a long-term proposal.
Council leader Steve Foulkes, who chaired the meeting, faced a barrage of criticism from members of the public over his plans.
He made repeated references to the £11m development of the new Floral Pavilion Theatre in New Brighton - citing it as proof that the council could deliver big projects like the five multi-purpose complexes being proposed as part of the review.
One audience member suggested the council should consider raising council tax, arguing “you get what you pay for”.
But Cllr Foulkes remained adamant the review was the only way to prevent a massive rise in the tax - saying he would sanction an increase during the credit crunch only “over my dead body”.
A further area forum takes place in New Brighton at the Floral Pavilion tomorrow (Thursday), starting at 7pm.