MORE THAN half of the leisure centres in Caerphilly county borough are at risk of closure under plans to redesign leisure services.

Caerphilly council, which runs more leisure centres than any other Welsh local authority, say they are unable to sustain all their facilities in the current financial climate.

A report has revealed plans to ‘rationalise’ existing centres and focus on four high quality strategic sites in Caerphilly town, Newbridge, Risca and another in the Bargoed or Aberbargoed area.

But Cllr Nigel George, cabinet member for neighbourhood services, said: “This means that we will need to consider the future of our other existing facilities with some being managed by schools, but the others may close.”

Those facing an uncertain future include centres in Pontllanfraith, Cefn Fforest, Bedwas, Heolddu, St Cenydd, the Sue Noake centre in Ystrad Mynach and New Tredegar.

The centres most at risk are Pontllanfraith, Cefn Fforest and New Tredegar, which have no ties to schools.

The council had considered closing Pontllanfraith leisure centre last year, a move which prompted backlash from residents and local councillors, but a decision was deferred in March.

The new strategic sites were chosen for their high visitor figures and low subsidies, with Caerphilly, Risca and Newbridge attracting more than 220,000 visitors each in 2017/18 while costing the council no more than £1.20 per user.

In comparison, the highest visitor figures at the remaining centres were Heolddu (97,423) and Pontllanfraith (74,347), while New Tredegar and Bedwas cost the authority £4.78 and £4.55 per user respectively.

The proposals form part of a 10-year draft sport and recreation strategy to increase opportunities for residents to lead active lifestyles.

Residents will be able to have their say on the draft strategy during a 10-week consultation, which will start on July 16 subject to cabinet approval.

“Our aim is to get people of all ages more active, more often,” said Cllr George.

“We currently provide a broad and varied range of opportunities for residents to engage in physical activity including country parks, cycle routes, sports pitches, outdoor sports equipment, school sports facilities, leisure centres and community centres.

“It is important that as many people as possible get involved and have their say to help shape the way we deliver sport and active recreation across Caerphilly county borough for the next decade.”

Other proposals contained within the strategy include the redevelopment of Caerphilly leisure centre, with a £15 million rebuild being considered alongside refurbishment options.

The draft strategy will be discussed by the council’s regeneration and environment scrutiny committee on June 26.