TORFAEN Leisure Trust has celebrated its first birthday – to a mixed response since it took over running local leisure facilities a year ago.

Earlier this year, the trust announced an increase in customer pricing – the first time in two-and-a-half years.

Speaking at the time the Blaenavon Swimming and Leisure Trust chairman John Beavan said he thought it could put people off.

He added: “By the time you pay for bus journeys, as well as the entry fee, you have paid a fortune.”

The trust also announced ambitious proposals for a £2million transformation of Cwmbran Stadium in February, comprising a new fitness suite, an indoor climbing centre and a 3G artificial turf pitch surface.

But Cwmbran Harriers expressed concerns that replacing the current grass pitch would lead to a loss of national competitions.

The trust said they felt the change would give more people more opportunities to be active, with the 3G pitch allowing year-round use.

Speaking ahead of the birthday celebrations, the trust’s CEO, Sally Church, said it had worked to make the transition as smooth as possible and improve standards of service.

She also said that the leisure facilities had seen a 2.49 per cent increase in service users on the previous year.

Torfaen council’s deputy leader, Councillor Lewis Jones, said: “The transfer of leisure services in Torfaen is good example of how the council is working in different ways to protect our public services.”

But Pontypool Paralympian John Harris said "it's a small price to pay” to prevent losing the facilities.

Ms Church said further work is currently being carried out to agree a funding package.