Plaid campaigner urges council Cabinet not to approve draft sports plan



Community campaigner Zoe Hammond has called on the Labour Cabinet at Caerphilly Council not to approve the controversial Draft Sport and Active Recreation Strategy 2019-29.

Zoe Hammond, a Plaid Cymru member of Blackwood Town Council, said that if the plan was approved tomorrow (Wednesday) it would lead to the closure of Pontllanfraith and Cefn Fforest Leisure Centres.

She said that the plan should go to the full council.  “We will all know the budget is tight but the Labour council is still paying for the senior officers’ pay scandal.  Why should the community pay the price of this scandal. The Cabinet need to do what is right for the public.”

Thousands of people have signed a petition against the leisure centre closures and a protest march has also been held.

Zoe Hammond added: “The council has already deliberately pushed up the cost of the soccer club held at Pontllanfraith during half-term to £15 but the charge at other sites remains at £10.  And they’ve also  recently changed the  times for public swims at Cefn Fforest making them more expensive.

“It seems they are charging extra to discourage use - victimising users and cutting hours at Cefn Fforest will make the pool less likely to pay its way.  This is a cynical way of justifying closure.

“We have primary schools from all over the borough using Pontllanfraith at least four times a week during term time for netball and football. While Cefn Fforest is the location for a number of schools to hold swimming lessons. How will all this be provided when none of this is considered within the review?

“The council is making changes it appears because they’ve already agreed to close the centres whatever the public might think and that would be a disgrace,” added Zoe Hammond.