An attempt to call in Caerphilly Council’s sports and active recreation strategy for further scrutiny has been turned down.
Cabinet approved the controversial ten-year plan last month, despite concerns from residents, councillors and an MP over suggestions that some leisure centres could close.
The call-in, lodged by Councillor Kevin Etheridge, failed to meet the required grounds for a valid request according to the council.
Cllr Etheridge described the decision as a “sad day for democracy”, adding: “This is very disappointing for the public having signed a petition with more than 5,500 signatures.”
The request for a call-in was supported by fellow Independent councillor Graham Simmonds, Labour councillors Adrian Hussey, Tom Williams, Ben Zaplatynski and Plaid Cymru’s Colin Mann.
Cllr Simmonds said he was “bitterly disappointed” by the decision while Cllr Mann claimed the authority was showing a “complacent attitude.”
“The Labour Cabinet has gone against their own MP, two former MPs, a Labour constituency party and, most importantly, they are ignoring the views of the public,” said the Plaid group leader.
“The cabinet has clearly decided to try to close discussion down and that is regrettable.”
Had the call-in been approved, the strategy would have been referred back to the council’s regeneration and environment scrutiny committee.
The same committee had unanimously backed a motion tabled by Cllr Etheridge calling for the final decision on the strategy to be put to a full council vote.
But on November 14, the authority’s leadership voted the motion down before agreeing to adopt the scheme.
A spokeswoman for Caerphilly County Borough Council said: “In the council’s overview and scrutiny procedure rules, there are three grounds on which a call-in can be made.
“Upon considering the validity of the request to call-in the decision, it was deemed, in accordance with the procedural rules that the call-in is not accepted.”