Furious fitness fans ready to battle to save sports centre

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Gym equipment
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CAMPAIGNERS have pledged to fight proposals to close a popular sports centre.

The axe is hanging over the Iain Nicolson Centre in Chryston as North Lanarkshire Council tries to make £73.3million worth of savings between 2013 and 2016.

Concerned customers who use the fully-equipped fitness studio, sports hall and gym have hit out. It has also caused anxiety for the 10 staff.

Consultation is currently underway and people are being urged to fight to save the centre.

Leisure 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.

However, the Herald understands there will be NO access to the gym facilities at the school – meaning people would need to travel to either Broadwood in Cumbernauld or The Time Capsule in Coatbridge.

The Iain Nicolson Centre, which was used 62,636 times in 2011-12, is run by North Lanarkshire Leisure on behalf of the council.

Scott Lamond (17), a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament and a sixth-year pupil at Chryston High, is starting a petition to save the centre.

He has contacted councillors and MSPs, and is meeting MP Tom Clarke this week.

Scott said: “In Strathkelvin, from Moodiesburn through to Gartcosh – the one sports centre we’ve got is the Iain Nicolson Centre.

“I’ve been going to the centre since I was 12. I use it on a daily basis.

“There’s a consultation period going on right now.

“Now‘s the time to come together and have a say before it‘s too late.”

James Frew (70),from Muirhead, uses the gym facilities at the centre three mornings a week.

He insisted: “I’ve been told it’s definitely closing. It’s a fait accompli.”

A spokesman for North Lanarkshire Leisure confirmed: “We’re holding a consultation with our customers to gauge opinions and to explain our reasons for making these proposals.

“The document will be available on the North Lanarkshire Leisure website and from our leisure centres.

“People have until December 14 to complete the survey.

“Like all organisations, we are facing huge financial pressures. The management fee we receive from the council may be reduced by around £2million over the next three years and we are also facing increased cost pressures of £2million.

“This means 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 most of the existing services will continue to be delivered in the area.”

However, Mr Frew insisted: “There’s no access for the public to the leisure suite at the school. There might be great facilities there, but we won’t be able to use them.”

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