The closure of Auchinleck Leisure Centre is set to be delayed until March - as East Ayrshire Council (EAC) launch a consultation into the future of the facility's resources.

The council had originally told users that the centre, at the old Auchinleck Academy, was due to close by the end of November, with that date then being pushed back until the new year.

It was then announced that Auchinleck Leisure Community Committee (ALCC) - set up in the aftermath of EAC's decision to close the facility - had started legal action against the local authority for the handling of their decision to close the centre.

READ MORE: Legal action launched against council as Auchinleck bites back

A public meeting was held in the centre following EAC's decision to close the centre, as around 100 locals turned up in a bid to reverse the decision.

Locals are still aiming to have the decision reversed.

However, East Ayrshire Council has now launched a consultation to look at the future plans for football pitches at the site.

Three in-person sessions are set to take place in Auchinleck's Boswell Centre - on January 5 from 2-4pm, January 11 from 6-8pm, and on January 13 from 1-3pm.

Cumnock Chronicle: Locals gathered to reverse the decision.Locals gathered to reverse the decision. (Image: Charlie Gilmour)

EAC said that the plan was always to demolish the centre and adjoining Academy building once the school's transfer to the new Robert Burns Academy in Cumnock had been completed.

They say that it would cost an estimated £6.5million to demolish the original school buildings and upgrade the leisure facilities to meet modern standards of energy efficiency and health and safety.

The authority also says Auchinleck Leisure Centre costs around £437,000 a year to run, and that since 2021 there has been no budget for its running costs, since the longer term intention was always to demolish it once the Barony Campus transfer was complete.

READ MORE: Auchinleck Academy building due to be demolished next year

Now, proposals are in place to demolish the centre, with feedback being sought on the future of the football pitches at the site.

When the closure plan was announced, the authority said Merlin Park in Auchinleck would be fitted with a 3G pitch and floodlights to plug the gap left by the closure of the pitch at Auchinleck Academy.

Auchinleck Talbot would also move their training base to this new Merlin Park pitch, according to EAC bosses.

Auchinleck Leisure Centre will close at the end of March 2024 with existing users signposted to alternative sites.

One option for the pitches is that they will remain open, with temporary changing facilities in place until a transfer to Merlin Park is finalised. 

The other is that East Ayrshire Council retains the Auchinleck Academy pitches, with modular changing facilities in place.