South Lanarkshire venues won't close but may be subject to asset transfer

South Lanarkshire Council has ruled out closing any leisure and culture venues.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 12:37 pm
Updated Friday, 21st May 2021, 12:38 pm
South Lanarkshire Council leader John Ross

The move comes after a leaked report revealed dozens of facilities operated by South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture (SLLC), could face an uncertain future.

The report listed a total of 29 “red” venues – those at greatest risk of closure – and 21 “amber” venues whose future will depend on the results of the leisure and culture review and the sustainability of the facilities.

Council leader John Ross who heads the minority SNP administration, denied any venues including libraries, community halls, golf courses and leisure centres will close.

However, did seem to suggest they may no longer be under SLLC’s control and could be transferred to the community to run.

He also emphasised that the leaked report had never been put to committee for decision and claimed it was “widely misrepresented” in the run up to the Scottish Parliament elections.

Seeking to reassure the public and SLLC staff, Councillor Ross said: “It has always been our intention to protect and invest in our vital community assets as we move into recovery from Covid.

“Through our work with local organisations, we know the benefits that facilities can provide to communities and want to support their aspirations as much as we can.

“That’s why we invested over £250,000 to support Community Asset Transfers this year and why we established the Community Engagement Team in 2019.

“Despite our best efforts to work in a cross-party way to reach a consensus, Labour took the decision to break that trust and leak a report before any decision had been taken.

“They should be embarrassed about their attempt to turn an officer drafted report, undertaken in good faith, into a political football.

“As the results across South Lanarkshire at the Holyrood election demonstrated, the people saw their spin for what it was.

“We will now get on with the job of making our services better for those who use them and empowering communities to grow and flourish.”

Liberal Democrat councillors have written an open letter to the other four political groups with the aim of finding common ground.