COUNCILLORS have locked horns over alleged “scaremongering” surrounding the future of a Barry leisure centre following the operator’s intention to withdraw as its contract ends.

The Vale council cabinet announced at its meeting (February 24) that Holm View leisure centre, in Skomer Road, Gibbonsdown, would be marketed for community use before Legacy Leisure’s contract ended in December 2020.

But Gibbonsdown Residents Board chairwoman, Molly Conway and opposition councillors believe housing would be the default option if an operator cannot be found.

Vale council leader, Cllr Neil Moore said: “I am annoyed that opposition councillors are spreading false and misleading information about the Vale council’s intentions for the Holm View Centre in Barry.

“The councillor (Cllr Leighton Rowlands) is once again scaremongering and causing mischief and was present when the council’s cabinet considered the future of the Holm View centre.

“The report made it crystal clear that cabinet are committed to securing a sustainable community use for the building for the benefit of the community.

“Despite that, there are rumours spreading that the cabinet and council intend building homes on the site.

“This is absolutely wrong.

“We were very clear that we were seeking invitations from any group that would be interested in taking on a long lease on the building to use for community uses.

“The Vale council’s cabinet and administration has no intention of developing the site for housing.

“The intention is to secure a sustainable community use for the site for the benefit of the wider community.

“There is a great deal of scaremongering being generated by opposition politicians.

“Scaremongering is defined as “the spreading of frightening or ominous reports or rumours” and that is exactly what is happening.

“As I said on Wednesday (February 26) at the full council meeting, such action and people who are spreading these rumours should be ashamed of themselves.

“We are looking for expressions of interest from community groups or organisations that want to provide and bring community benefits to the area.

“I am confident that will be the case.”

In response, Dyfan ward Vale and town councillor, Leighton Rowlands said: “I have never scaremongered or caused mischief.

“I was raising concerns that have been expressed to me by residents as a councillor which I’m entitled too.

“I asked the question at full council on Wednesday which I’m also entitled too as a councillor so the cabinet member could promise that there would be no housing considered if they could not get a tenant at the Holm views.

“I was shocked that Cllr Moore, the leader answered my question and not Cllr McCaffer who is the cabinet member, claiming that the Holm is now under his portfolio as it transferred back to the council.

“It clearly states that Holm would come back to council responsibly in January 2021 or earlier which Cllr Moore said that was not true.

“He may want to check his own reports before claiming such a fact.

“If it had come under his portfolio, why did Cllr McCaffer present the report on the Monday at cabinet?

“That’s the quickest turnaround I have seen by the council.

“Or does he not trust is fellow independent cabinet member with her portfolio or answering the question?”

He added: “I think Cllr Moore is trying to shut down concerns by residents.

“I would not expect less from the Labour leader.

“He has a habit of shutting down concerns made by residents.

“I’m not ashamed in raising concerns made by residents who express them, that’s what makes a good councillor.

“Perhaps Cllr Moore could answer my question that I asked at full council?”