Blackwood sports centre land to be sold

1:22pm Thursday 28th November 2013

A PIECE of land next to a Blackwood sports centre will be sold on the open market for residential development, it was decided yesterday.

The piece of land adjoining Cefn Fforest Sports Centre had been deemed surplus to operational requirements by the council’s leisure division, after years of uncertainty about its future.

Local councillors had objected to the plan on the grounds the land may be needed for future improvements to the leisure centre.

But a council cabinet meeting yesterday agreed it was in the financial interest of the authority to sell the land.

A report by Colin Jones, head of performance and property services at Caerphilly council, points to the authority’s medium term financial plan (MTFP), which includes cost-saving targets resulting from the disposal of assets.

Keith Reynolds, deputy leader of the council, said it was a decision that would have to be made with the council’s finances in mind.

He said: “Given the serious financial situation we find ourselves in, it is a decision we will have to make. No doubt, this kind of decision will come up again and again.”

Councillors were told at a special meeting in October that they will have to make savings of around £28million in the next three years.

A series of scrutiny meetings are due to take place to discuss possible savings, and it seems the selling of assets will be a recurring theme.

Mr Jones said: “Nobody likes the prospect of selling land, but we are at a situation where we have to rationalise our assets.

“I envisage it will be an issue that will be brought to cabinet again and again.”

The piece of land was initially declared surplus to its operational requirements in 2003. Although the owner of the adjoining property – the former caretaker’s house – expressed an interest in buying the area for garden use, his application was refused on the grounds that the land was considered suitable for residential development, subject to detailed design.

It was then given back into the care of the council’s leisure division, but will now be put on the market after it was finally deemed surplus.

• Leisure centres across Caerphilly county borough are offering free swimming sessions for under-18 SmartCard members in December.

To become a SmartCard holder, register at your local leisure centre or online at caerphilly.gov.uk/smartcard. With new SmartRewards customers can gain points as they take part in activities at their local leisure centre and redeem them for free fun.

See your.caerphilly.gov.uk/leisurelifestyle/smartrewards.

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