Venues at risk of closure

Ten venues in Clydesdale could be closed or transferred to the community to run.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 10:05 am
Biggar Golf Club is on the red list of venues which could face possible closure or community transfer.

And a further ten have been placed on an amber list as part of a review of South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture (SLLC).

Possibly facing the axe on the red list are Abington Bowling Club, Abington Hall, Auchenheath Hall, Biggar Golf Course, Carstairs Bowling Club, Dolphinton Hall, Elsrickle Hall, Lesmahagow Library, Tarbrax Bowling Club and Thankerton Hall.

And the amber list cites Braehead Hall, Brocketsbrae Hall, Carmichael Hall, Carstairs Junction Hall, Coalburn Leisure Centre, Coulter Hall, Nemphlar Hall, Pettinain Hall, Roberton Hall and Symington Hall.

A draft report leaked to the Local Democracy Reporting Service has revealed the facilities that could face the axe if the cross-party working group on leisure and culture agrees to take them forward.

No formal recommendations have yet been made and the cross-party working group on leisure and culture is currently reviewing service provision and what venues will be needed going forward.

Michael McGlynn, executive director for community and enterprise resources, said: “It is untrue to suggest that the venues on the list have been recommended for closure or transfer.

“The cross-party working group (CPWG) was set up to look at how future provision of leisure and culture services in South Lanarkshire might best meet the needs of local communities.

“As part of this, the focus has been on what leisure and cultural outcomes the council request of SLLC. This has also been the subject of extensive consultation with the public and users groups.

"The use of all local facilities, how much subsidy is required per user and the availability of alternative provision for local residents to use have all been considered to assist this work.

"However it would be premature to make any recommendations on the use of any facility before the group completes its work.

“It will be for the CPWG to consider how it wishes to proceed with this information, and if any venues might be better utilised in other ways.

"Any recommendations that emerge from the CPWG would then be presented to the executive committee/council and the SLLC board for consideration.”

Labour group leader Councillor Joe Fagan said the council “isn’t being up front with the public” over proposals.

He added: “If the council is upfront and honest with the public about what closures are being considered then they will get an upfront and honest response from the public about how valuable each facility is to their community.

“They could also identify opportunities to save facilities from budget cuts through community asset transfer or find new ways of making a facility work.

"It’s wrong for them to keep it from the public. Honest conversations with the community can generate the ideas we need to protect the most vital services and find the right way forward.”

However, SNP council leader John Ross dismissed the opposition claims as “utterly contemptible” and “scaremongering” ahead of the elections today.

He said: “This is utterly contemptible from the Labour party – not only is it misrepresenting an internal officer drafted report but it is scaremongering about the future of our community facilities to try and win a few votes at this week’s election.

“The cross-party working group was set up to improve leisure facilities across South Lanarkshire and empower communities as we do so.

“To suggest this is a cuts exercise is political opportunism on stilts and people will rightly see it for what it is.”