PROPOSALS to close Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre have been deferred by Caerphilly county borough council’s cabinet.

The matter was subject to a recent period of extended consultation and the cabinet was asked to either re-affirm the original decision to close the facility, take a new decision based on the additional consultation feedback or defer the matter.

Councillors unanimously agreed to defer the decision to close Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre and will now consider the future of the venue later in 2018 once the council’s 10 year Sport and Leisure Strategy has been adopted.

Cllr Dave Poole, leader of the council said: “We have taken on board the feedback received from the community and we also need to consider how the plans for Pontllanfraith fit in with our broader aspirations for sport and leisure provision across the county borough in the future.”

“It is important that the community understands that this decision does not come without consequences and we will now need to find alternative savings in order to meet the costs of keeping Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre open. "Our budgets are shrinking and we need to look carefully at what services we are able to deliver in the future. One thing is clear - doing nothing is not an option - and we will have to make some difficult decisions in order to balance our budgets,” he added.

The additional savings that are now required to keep the centre open, totalling £136,000, will be achieved by making cuts to the council’s Highway Maintenance budget and by deleting vacant posts in Language Support in Primary Schools.

These additional savings were agreed at a Special Meeting of Council held at Penallta House. The council had proposed to defer more than half a million pounds of cuts from its 2018/19 budget savings, but £136,000 has now been reinstated to cover the costs of keeping the centre open.