An MP says he left a meeting with Caerphilly Council’s leader with “more questions than answers” over the closure of Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre and the ongoing senior officer pay dispute.
Councillor Dave Poole met with Chris Evans to “set the record straight” on several contentious issues within his Islwyn constituency.
The head of the Labour-led council said he was in “no doubt” that the Labour MP left the meeting with a “clearer understanding” of the council’s position.
Mr Evans has been highly critical of the council’s decision to close Pontllanfraith leisure centre and marched against the cuts last November.
In a statement, Cllr Poole said: “It’s easy to take a populist stance and criticise these actions, but we have an obligation to ensure that the community understand the rationale behind these tough choices.”
But Mr Evans disputed the statement, claiming the meeting on April 18 was an “extremely difficult” one.
“I walked away with more questions than answers,” he said.
“I was extremely disappointed to be told that the council didn’t look at alternative ownership arrangements for the leisure centre.
“A number of my constituents had given me questions to ask and I didn’t feel they were answered.
“I’m supporting my constituents and I will continue to stand up for their interests.”
Clarity was also sought by Mr Evans around the six-year pay dispute between Caerphilly Council and its chief executive, Anthony O’Sullivan.
Mr O’Sullivan was suspended from working following allegations of misconduct around pay rises given to senior officers, including himself.
Both parties have yet to reach a financial settlement, with an investigation into the matter so far costing Caerphilly taxpayers around £4.1 million.
But Mr Evans said he remains “completely in the dark” about the situation.
The face-to-face meeting was requested by Cllr Poole as several issues faced by the authority were as a result of austerity measures imposed by the UK Government.
“The closure of Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre and the withdrawal of town centre toilet facilities are very contentious,” he said.
“It is important that our elected representatives appreciate the reasons why these decisions are being made.”