Auchinleck Leisure Centre is set to close next month, council chiefs have confirmed.

But now a fight has begun to try and save the centre's pool and other facilities, with a public meeting to be held in the building tonight to rally support.

East Ayrshire Leisure Trust chief officer Anneke Freel confirmed the closure plan in a letter to users late last week.

She said a independent study of the centre - formerly Auchinleck Academy - had left them with three options: 

Demolishing the existing centre, keeping the Synthetic Grass Pitch and building a new pavilion

Keeping the full facility with swimming pool and undertaking a refurbishment of the centre

Decommissioning the pool and considering an alternative use for the site.

She added: "A high level analysis of potential capital costs, in addition to any additional operational costs were presented for all three options to East Ayrshire’s Council cabinet for consideration.

"East Ayrshire Council reached the decision to close Auchinleck Leisure Centre in November 2023, with the temporary exemption of the synthetic grass pitch, which will remain open until spring 2024. 

"This is to allow further discussions to be had with local sports clubs to submit funding applications to build a synthetic grass pitch and improve the grass pitch at Merlin Park. 

Campaigner Rona Hunter has organised tonight's (Monday, October 30) meeting for centre users to see what can be done to save the facilitities.

Cumnock Chronicle: Auchinleck Academy's future.

She wrote: "As you are all aware by now, East Ayrshire Council have made the decision to close the Leisure Centre as of roughly end of November.

"I have booked the Auchinleck Academy Games Hall (big hall) on Monday, October 30 at 7pm for all interested parties youth groups football groups, parents, guardians, grandparents and so on who would like to attend a meeting to discuss ideas on how we can stop the centre from closing.

"Although the pitches are still to be available until March 2024 would be grateful of any input from all locals involved in the use of Auchinleck Leisure Centre. I will be emailing Leisure Trust officers, councillors and MP to ask if they can attend.

"I know it's short notice and everyone has commitments but I hope to see as many as we can to try and at least do something for the community of Auchinleck and surrounding areas."

In her letter to centre users, Ms Freel listed measures to be put in place to support groups, clubs and individuals following the closure.

Indoor Bookings – Sports Halls

Anyone with an indoor sports hall booking should contact Barony Sports Village on 01290 427291 and speak to our staff team to identify if your booking can be accommodated.  There will be no charge for the first month of your booking to allow you to settle in.  Alternatively they can put you in contact with ACDI who now operate Auchinleck Boswell Centre.

Barony Sports Village opening hours: Mon-Fri 6pm-9pm, Sat & Sun 9am-5pm

Swimming Lessons

Visions Leisure Centre will be adding new classes to their programme to try and accommodate as many children as possible. They have agreed to honour customers’ current £18 Direct Debit payment until March 31, 2024. If you would like to discuss your requirements you can contact the facility on 01290 425495.

Active Swim Memberships

Anyone with an Active Swim membership will also have their membership rate honoured by Visions Leisure Centre until March 31, 2024 if you wish to transfer to this facility. To find out more, please contact Visions on 01290 425495.

Swimming Pool Bookings

For any existing swimming pool hires, theye will do our best to accommodate you at Loudoun Leisure Centre. If this is possible, there will be no charge for the first month of your booking to allow you to settle in.

Please speak to the staff at Auchinleck Leisure Centre who will liaise with Loudoun Leisure Centre initially.  Alternatively, they can speak to Visions Leisure Centre to see if they can accommodate your requirements.

If you have any concerns or need any further support in relocating your activity, please let us know and we will do whatever we can to make this as simple a change as possible.

East Ayrshire Council has been contacted for comment.