Axe hanging over sports centre – what’s your view?

Chryston high school'Photo Emma Mitchell'9/11/12
Chryston high school'Photo Emma Mitchell'9/11/12

THE axe is hanging over a popular sports centre – 20 years after it first opened its doors.

There are proposals to close the Iain Nicolson Centre in Chryston despite the facility’s popularity with local fitness enthusiasts.

North Lanarkshire Council is faced with making an estimated £73.3million worth of savings between 2013 and 2016.

One of the proposals is to close the Iain Nicolson Centre, which was officially opened in May 1992 after being built at a cost of £750,000.

That has infuriated many people who use the fully-equipped fitness studio, sports hall and gym. It has also caused concern for staff.

Users have vowed to fight to save the centre and there is talk of a petition. It was used 62,636 times in 2011-12.

It is understood council chiefs believe the facility is no longer needed due to the opening of the £23.3million Chryston High School and Cultural Centre – which includes a fitness suite and games hall which will be available to the public.

However, Councillor Frances McGlinchey cast doubt on when the facilities could be used. A range of classes and resources are currently available at the Iain Nicolson Centre at various times.

She said: “The Nicholson centre is needed as we have no other facilities in the Strathkelvin ward. I know there are a large number of groups and individuals who use the centre and have used it for many years.

“Having everything on the one site in stark economic terms sounds good at face value, but the community needs to be involved in decision-making and so far that has not taken place.

“The new facilities will mean big changes for the community and a departure from well-loved and used facilities, and the community should have been consulted regarding this change rather than it being imposed.”

The centre is run by North Lanarkshire Leisure, an arms-length trust, on behalf of the council.

A spokesman said: “Like all organisations, we are facing huge financial pressures. This means that we are being forced to make difficult decisions.

“One of these includes proposals to close the Iain Nicolson Centre. We are currently in discussions with staff and customers about this, which, if it goes ahead, would be implemented from the beginning of March next year.

“We realise this decision will be a blow for our customers, however, given the excellent new facilities at Chryston High School and Cultural Centre we are confident that most of the existing services will continue to be delivered in the area.”

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