Powys Council has announced that it is backing down from its decision to temporarily close leisure centres across the county.

Following a controversial proposition on December 12, that Powys County Council was hoping to counter rising energy costs by closing a number of leisure centres for the rest of the calendar year, the council has decided not to implement the decision.

The council says the decision was made after it received information about the funding that will be provided to the County by Welsh Government next year, which the council says is better than anticipated.

In light of this, the council has announced that it will not be implementing the temporary closure of Llanfair Caereinion, Llanfyllin and Presteigne leisure centres and swimming pools at Llanidloes, Rhayader and Builth from December 23 to March 31 as was previously announced.

Money from next year's settlement will cover the additional cost, replenishing money spent from the council's reserves in the short term.

In a joint statement, council leader James Gibson-Watt, his deputy Matthew Dorrance, David Selby, the cabinet member for a more prosperous Powys, and finance cabinet member David Thomas said: "Many of the leisure facilities across the County are in need of investment due to their age and condition.

"Before we spend any significant capital funds, we will undertake a comprehensive review of the facilities and we will fully engage with local communities, those who use our services and County Councillors, as well as by working closely with Freedom Leisure.

"To make sure that we allocate sufficient time for this comprehensive review, it will begin early in the New Year and we will share the Terms of Reference with our Scrutiny Committees. Cabinet and Scrutiny will consider the recommendations of the review in due course.

"There is some urgency to undertake this review to make sure that our leisure services are sustainable in the future, particularly since we expect significant cuts in public expenditure from 2025 onwards."

Montgomeryshire MP Craig Williams welcomed the decision, calling it a "huge relief", but added: "We must now have a serious discussion about long-term plan for our leisure centres. They are critical for our communities, I will work with Russell George MS and Powys councillors in the new year to discuss options with the cabinet member.

"I hope these last-minute announcements won’t ever happen again - it caused huge distress and all needless."

Llanfair Caereinion councillor Gareth Jones also said he would be seeking a discussion over the future plans for his local centre.

"I am so relieved that the crazy decision to temporarily close Caereinion Leisure Centre and other leisure centres has now been reversed," he said. 

"A big thank you to everyone who over the past four days have worked collectively to fight for a service that is so vital to our rural communities.

"Thanks to all who have contacted me and provided valuable data and highlighted the impact the closure would have had on so many groups."