A LEISURE centre is set to be thrown a lifeline by the council which would prevent it closing for good.

Swindon Council is considering writing off a debt of up to £610,000 owed to it by the Highworth Recreation Centre Trust.

Last year it was revealed the Highworth Rec – run by the trust – was £558,000 in debt and was under the threat of closure if a solution could not be found quickly.

Trustees identified that the business plan for the managing of the Rec’s facilities was flawed and unsustainable and a public consultation had highlighted that there was overwhelming support from the Highworth population to support the site financially via the Highworth town council precept.

Sally Williams, chairwoman of the Highworth Recreation Centre Trust said that it would be a big boost if the centre’s future was secured with the help of the council.

“We’re delighted that Swindon Council can step in and help us out it means that we are going to be here for many years to come,” she said.

“It was a possibility that the Rec was going to have to close which would have been a huge shame.

“It is very important to have the Rec in Highworth. We are quite a large town and a lot of people use it, especially the younger people.

“Obviously we still need people to come and use the Rec and we are still looking for funding.”

Highworth residents who use the centre are pleased that a vital part of the community will remain open for them to use.

Chris Birdsall, of St Michaels Avenue, said: “It is superb news, the Rec is an important part of the Highworth community and it has had a tough time of it recently.

“I use the Rec regularly and it is an important facility to have somewhere you can go. There has been a dark cloud over the Rec for a long time and it must be a huge weight off of them.

“Hopefully this will be a springboard to go and market the Rec and encourage more people to use it.”

Swindon Council are also set to agree that it will subsidise the Highworth Rec by £105,000 per year, which will be in line with other recreation facilities that have swimming pools across the town.

The decision is set to be taken at next week’s cabinet meeting on Wednesday at 6.15pm in the Civic Offices, Euclid Street.