Caerphilly County Borough Council has been accused of a “land grab” as they consider controversial plans to close Pontllanfraith’s leisure centre.
Senior councillors are expected to sign off the closure on Wednesday (April 10), despite petitions, protests and a lack of support from a scrutiny committee.
The plans will be discussed alongside reports promising significant investment in other leisure facilities in the borough, prompting criticism from those hoping to save the facility from closure.
Zoe Hammond, a Blackwood town councillor and member of the Save the Leisure Centres campaign, said closing Pontllanfraith would “affect thousands of people”.
“We can see that the council has now found a pot of money or hope to get funding with help from Welsh Government and others, to improve [leisure] facilities,” said Cllr Hammond.
“Why should Pontllanfraith leisure centre be any different when it comes to funding? The council can’t blame it on austerity, money has become available.”
Among the spending proposals is a £550,000 upgrade of the fitness suite at Newbridge leisure centre, which would be funded by the council.
Newbridge is one of four leisure centres – not including Pontllanfraith – that the council wants to keep and develop as part of its 10-year sports and active strategy.
Elsewhere on the agenda is an application for £1.6 million in Welsh Government funding to pay for two new sports facilities in Risca and Oakdale.
The Pontllanfraith site, which includes the former comprehensive school, has been earmarked for housing and a £3.1 million children’s support centre, which will also be discussed by cabinet.
Cllr Hammond added: “Why In this lengthy agenda is such important decision that will affect thousands of people been included at the end?
“This is all for the sake of a land grab, as that is what this decision has come down to – not health and wellbeing, or community interests.”
A spokesman for Caerphilly County Borough Council said: “We have a packed agenda when cabinet members will consider a number of key issues, including the future of Pontllanfraith leisure centre as part of our wider 10-year sport and active recreation strategy.
“They will also consider a package of exciting proposals that, if agreed, would deliver fantastic benefits for the whole community.”