A CROSS party attempt to stop the closure of Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre has been rejected by Caerphilly council.

A motion put forward by Independent councillor Kevin Etheridge calling for the contentious cabinet decision to close the leisure centre to be called-in has been refused by council bosses.

The request had support across the political divide - with Labour's Tom Williams and Plaid Cymru councillors Colin Elsbury and Colin Mann backing the motion.

However council bosses said the issue has already been sufficiently considered by the council's scrutiny committee, on four separate occasions, with the committee recommending the leisure centre stays open.

Cllr Kevin Etheridge, leader of the council's Independent group, said the decision has now left campaigners with little hope.

"People are upset because it's the end of the process - the internal process with the council," he said.

"We can't go any further.

"It's a dark day in Blackwood and Pontllanfraith."

Cllr Colin Mann, leader of the Plaid Cymru group, said the decision was "very disappointing but not surprising."

Cllr Mann said a public consultation on the possibility of a Community Asset Transfer should have taken place before the decision to close the leisure centre.

Caerphilly council committed to closing the leisure centre by June 30 at a meeting earlier this month, after months of protests and marches.

Former Labour leader Lord Kinnock and Lord Touhig, who both served as Islwyn MPs, were among those who marched to save the facility.

The move will save the authority nearly £120,000 a year on running costs, while avoiding outstanding repair and upgrade costs of more than £500,000.

Cllr Nigel George, cabinet member for neighbourhood services said: "The decision to close Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre has been subject to detailed scrutiny and debate over many months.

"The matter was also widely consulted upon on two separate occasions and the feedback received was fully considered as part of the decision-making process.

"The decision is in line with the council's recently adopted Sport and Active Recreation Strategy, which will help shape the way we deliver our services for the next 10 years.

"A key part of this strategy is to rationalise our existing leisure centres to four strategically located sites across the county borough.

"This was a difficult decision, but alternative facilities are available in the local community - including new state of the art 3G pitches - to accommodate all the users of Pontllanfraith Leisure Centre in the future."