South East Wales

Caerphilly leisure services threatened by budget cuts

Newbridge Leisure Centre
Image caption Newbridge leisure centre is one of several that could be taken over by schools

Leisure centres, public toilets and waste sites across Caerphilly county are facing closure as the council tries to save £13.4m in the next two years.

Some bowling greens could shut, outdoor sports facility charges may rise and street cleaning could be cut back.

Floral displays might be removed from parks and playing field maintenance could also be reduced.

The proposals are in the early stages and the council said staff and unions would be consulted if they progressed.

A report to the authority's regeneration and environment scrutiny committee said the proposals were the first stage of a longer process in the council's budget setting for 2015-16 and 2016-17.

It anticipates it needs to save £6.5m next year and £6.9m the year after.

Among the options being considered are plans to shut 11 leisure centres to save £1.7m.

The report said closures would result in a loss of health, fitness and swimming facilities in the county but said it would look at whether schools could run some centres instead.

Image caption Falling membership has put some bowls clubs under threat

Up to six public toilets in Ystrad Mynach, Risca, Caerphilly, Bargoed and Blackwood are facing the axe or could be taken over by another organisation.

The council is also looking at shutting waste sites at Rhymney, Penmaen, Aberbargoed, Penallta, Crosskeys and Trehir or reducing their opening hours, while fees for renting outdoor sports facilities could be increased by 20%.

The report said this could lead to complaints and could cause user numbers to drop, but it said neighbouring councils were facing similar increases.

The local authority is also looking at reducing its fleet of street cleaners and is considering removing floral displays from parks and hanging baskets from town centres.

Proposals to shut six of the county's 21 bowling greens would see the phased closure of greens in Machen, Oakdale, New Tredegar, Senghenydd, Penrheol and Ysysddu, which have the lowest membership.

But the council said clubs would be offered the opportunity to take them on.

The plans are due to be discussed at a meeting on 30 July, but any final decisions will need full council or cabinet committee approval.

Image caption Public toilets like this one in Ystrad Mynach could be handed over to another organisation

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