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Work to deliver modern and sustainable leisure facilities in Clackmannanshire is well underway.
Proposals being drawn up include options for a state of the art swimming pool, following the decision to close Alloa Leisure Bowl.
In September 2020, Council officers began recommissioning works in Alloa Leisure Bowl in preparation for a phased re-opening of the facility following necessary Covid-19 restrictions. As a result of these works and further surveys, a number of major property related issues were identified within the Leisure Bowl, including the need for new ventilation systems and extensive modifications to make the facility a Covid-19 safe environment. Risks and substantial costs associated with a potential failure of aging plant were also identified. The subsequent introduction of further Covid restrictions halted the recommissioning works and the facility has remained closed since March 2020.
Since March 2020 to the beginning of February 2021, the Council has spent more than £430,000 on Leisure Bowl management fees on the basis that it would be able to reopen for public use, with those costs set to continue by around £46,000 each month. It is estimated that the minimum cost of retaining the Alloa Leisure Bowl for a 5 year period would be approximately £3.5m with potential costs, should plant fail, of more than £4.5m.
The Council agreed on 11th February 2021, that the current management agreement, which is over 10 years old, is not sustainable, and no longer represents best value, particularly within the context of the identified property costs and in an uncertain operating environment.
The Council also agreed that officers should continue to prepare an option appraisal on sustainable leisure provision. The Council also agreed that this should include exploration of options for a leisure hub model as part of a wider Alloa South community campus development, with options for swimming provision.
The development of the options will include engagement with users and communities of interest, and will be presented to the Council for consideration in May 2021.
Place Committee Convenor Councillor Craig Holden said: “The decision to close the Leisure Bowl and cease operations from there has been taken in response to the financial reality of the situation and the ability of the Council to deliver something so much better.
“It is important that people are not distracted by the conjuncture of those who are less informed regarding the Council’s intentions.
“Plans are in place and work is underway to ensure that Councillors will have all the information necessary in May to deliver a modern and sustainable alternative to a facility which is no longer fit for purpose. This will include options for a state of the art swimming pool.
“The reality of the situation is far removed from that suggested by some. This Council knows what it wants to achieve, and has agreed a timetable and clear way forward on how it is going to do it.”