MORE than 60 residents expressed their outrage after an eight minute meeting took place regarding the closure of Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre.

Residents turned up to a special meeting regarding the closure of Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre.

The meeting followed the cabinet’s unanimous decision to close the venue on December 13 after Cllr Kevin Etheridge put forward a successful motion to ‘call-in’ the decision to the Regeneration Scrutiny Committee.

Campaigners from across Islwyn and Caerphilly attended the council offices in Tredomen ahead of the special meeting at 5pm yesterday to show their anger in the closure of the centre.

Around 70 people turned up with banners and signs calling to save the leisure centre, with the protest itself being organised by local Pontllanfraith man Huw James.

However, the campaigner's broke into an outrage when the meeting - which lasted for less than ten minutes- ended with the outcome of the decision being passed back to the cabinet again.

There were shouts of anger across the room, with members of the public shouting and yelling that they were "disgusted" with the outcome.

Blackwood town councillor Zoe Hammond, said the idea of taking Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre away is a "disgrace".

She said: "We were not even given a chance to speak. This is not open and this is not transparency.

"We were informed on Wednesday we were not allowed to speak at the committee meeting, then they changed their minds and we were allowed to speak.

"However, when we turned up at the meeting we were denied the chance to speak. "This is so frustrating for the public, not just the town councillors.

"We have a long list of things that have gone from our community and this is yet another thing. I am very upset about this."

Mr James, 34, who grew up in Pontllanfraith and attended the former Pontllanfraith Comprehensive School, said he set up the protest as there was a lot of support in the community for keeping the centre open.

Mr James said: "Everyone is trying to come together to save something which is close to our hearts. The leisure centre has been there since the 70s and I started going there since after I was born.

"It's somewhere we all go to for the social aspect as well as the health and fitness. We want the chance to save this leisure centre and we are determined to save it."

In the meeting, five members of the committee voted for sending the decision on the closure to full council for reconsideration.

However, the majority voted for the decision to sent back to cabinet - which the 30 campaigners in the room were not happy with.

One resident, who did not wish to be named, said: "This is absolutely disgusting., I believe that the land has already been sold, which is why this is a complete palava."

Cllr Kevin Etheridge, said: "I can't believe the outcome. They told us yesterday no one would be allowed to speak, even though Huw James had around 1,500 petitions. They wouldn't let the public speak. They wouldn't even let me speak and I gave the call to council."

Cllr Colin Elsbury, of Caerphilly Town Council, who was on the committee, said: "We should be ashamed of ourselves. This does not seem like it has been open and transparent."