Pontllanfraith leisure centre closure plan put on hold

Campaigners outside the court Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Opponents won a High Court challenge in June to block the planned closure

Plans to close a leisure centre have been put on hold after campaigners called for the decision to be reversed.

Caerphilly council had been planning a fresh bid to close Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre after the High Court ruled it had failed to consider the impact on vulnerable people.

Council leader Barbara Jones said the closure would be put on hold pending a wider review of local services.

Campaigners said they were "encouraged" but wanted the plans to be scrapped.

The Labour-led authority had planned to close Pontllanfraith - which costs £125,000 a year to run - and invest the savings in four other leisure centres across the county borough.

It sparked a campaign of opposition, backed by current and past MPs including the former Labour leader Lord Kinnock.

Image copyright Caerphilly County Borough Council
Image caption The leisure centre costs £125,000 a year to run

An updated report that maintains the centre should close, had been due to be discussed by councillors on a scrutiny committee later.

However, Ms Jones announced a reprieve and said council leaders were "listening and responding to our community".

"We are aware of the strength of feeling in the community and we want to respond positively to these concerns," she said.

"Therefore we are recommending that the closure plans are put on hold while we consider how the facility fits within our wider 'place shaping' agenda for the county borough."

Shane Williams, who took the case to the High Court, said campaigners were "encouraged" by the "unexpected" news, but said they wanted to see a "complete stop" to plans to close the leisure centre.

"What we want to see is a new approach to safeguard its long-term future," he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Rhianon Passmore, Labour's Welsh Assembly member for Islwyn, said council leaders had made a "courageous decision", adding "common sense has prevailed".

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