LEISURE services in Torfaen are a step closer to being run by a board of trustees after 21 people applied for the posts.

Torfaen council was forced to extend the original application period when only eight people applied for a position on the board to help run leisure services in the borough.

The council will now assess the applications to ensure people meet the criteria and can offer the correct skills, with appointments being made on February 5.

The council has taken the decision to create a newnot-for-profit leisure trust to manage the future delivery of its leisure services, which could take over the running from as early as spring.

It is expected to save the council £1.2 million, around £240,000 a year over the next five years.

The appointed trustees will work in a voluntary capacity, setting the strategy for the operation of the leisure facilities and will oversee the delivery of the business plan.

The council was appealing for people from the area who would be able to contribute professional and business skills including financial, legal, property and business management.

A one-off budget of around £100,000 would be used to establish the non-profit organisation.

This body would be able to borrow money to improve and maintain the facilities it is responsible for including Cwmbran Stadium, all of the borough’s leisure centres and Pontypool Ski Centre.

In July last year, Torfaen cabinet members declared their commitment to establishing a nonprofit organisation.

The council said it would be in the best interest of leisure staff and customers, while ensuring future investments and improvements in leisure services.

The council is also looking to appoint two council members to sit on the independent board, which will be made up of 11 people.

Appointed council members will be required to act in the best interests of the Not for Profit Distributing Organisation and only two councillors being on the board will ensure the trust does not become a controlled company.