Families in Highworth will this week have a say on their recreation centre, which is £558,000 in debt.

Swindon Council has been working with the trustees of Highworth Recreation Centre and Highworth Town Council for the last three months, after the trust ran into financial difficulties.

The council carried out an audit of the facility to assess the full extent of Highworth Recreation Trust’s debts.

Highworth residents will now be presented with a number of options. They will be able to give their views at a drop-in consultation event at Highworth Recreation Centre between 5pm and 9pm on Friday.

Among the options being put forward to residents are an increase in charges at the leisure centre, a reduction in the casual swimming programme and the long term redevelopment of the community hall to generate additional income.

Councillor Charles Horton, chairman of Highworth Town Council, said: “Highworth Town Council has been asked to participate in seeking a solution to the financial situation the Rec and the swimming pool finds itself.

“The alternatives stated here are clear. What Highworth Town Council now needs is a clear indication as to what Highworth residents would prefer.

“The council urges residents to participate in this consultation and state their wishes.

“Do you want Highworth Town Council to contribute towards keeping it open or would you prefer to see it closed?”

Residents will also be asked whether they would like the centre to be run by Swindon Council, a private company or by Highworth residents.

Further options put forward include closing Highworth Recreation Centre altogether or for households in the town to pay an extra £15 in town council precept to enable Highworth Town Council to contribute towards the centre’s running costs.

Councillor Garry Perkins, Deputy Leader of Swindon Council, said: “We have worked hard with the trustees and Highworth Town Council to come up with viable ways to maximise this valuable facility, but we want to hear residents’ views and suggestions.

“It is unfortunate the trust ran into financial difficulties, but we are all working together to find the best solution for the people of Highworth.”

Sally Williams, Chair of the Highworth Recreation Centre’s Trustees, said: “This is a difficult time for all those involved with the centre particularly as it is a facility set up by the community for the community.

“It is important that as many people from Highworth as possible take the opportunity to have their say on the future of the centre.”