THE swimming pool and games hall at Auchinleck Leisure Centre should be closed down with immediate effect, council bosses have said.

The recommendation comes in a report to East Ayrshire Council's cabinet - with officials stating that councillors should agree to press ahead with the centre's closure despite huge local opposition.

The report suggests providing temporary access to changing facilities to allow continued use of the synthetic grass pitches next to the former Auchinleck Academy building.

Members of the cabinet will be asked to approve the immediate closure of the pool and adjacent games hall when they meet next week.

The move comes after EAC announced last year that it planned to close down the leisure centre and direct local residents to facilities elsewhere, including at the Barony Campus in Cumnock.

READ MORE: Campaign group to speak at Cabinet to discuss centre's future


The report says the pool and games hall should be closed "with immediate effect" over health and safety concerns at the building.

The report adds that since December 1, more than £10,000 has been spent on reactive repairs to the building.

The council initially planned to shut the centre in November - with the move made public only weeks before the original closure date.

Cumnock Chronicle: Locals have been fighting the decision.Locals have been fighting the decision. (Image: ALCC)

However, this was delayed after a legal challenge by the Auchinleck Leisure Community Committee (ALCC) - who complained that the council had failed to carry out its legal duties over the closure process.

The report adds: "The council fully accepts that we did not fulfil our obligations under the Public Sector Equality Duty, specifically under Section 149 of the 2010 Act, by failing to carry out a formal Equality Impact Assessment

"Officers believed at the time that the proposal was in line with previous decisions taken, and that known impacts were being mitigated.

"Importantly the council has now sought to address this by carrying out further consultation and a comprehensive equality impact assessment."

Consultations sessions were then held in January for locals to provide feedback on two proposals for the centre and outdoor pitches moving forward.

READ MORE: Campaigners in 'strong position' to reverse leisure centre closure plans

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.

One option for discussion was for the pitches to 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.

The report adds that: "The council received 279 responses over the duration of the engagement programme, which equates to marginally less than 2 per cent of the Ballochmyle Ward 7 population."

Cumnock Chronicle: Auchinleck Leisure Community Committee feel they are in a good position.

Despite the public being more in favour of option two, the cabinet is also being recommended to push ahead with option one.

Feedback from the public raised various concerns about the planned closure.

EAC says that facilities that were on offer at Auchinleck can be found at other venues across the area- one of which was Loudoun Leisure Centre, which is around 12 miles away and would require those unable to drive to take two buses.

It was added that swimming classes that were once on offer at Auchinleck will be made available at Visions Leisure Centre in Cumnock, once staff are in place.

Cabinet members will discuss the report and its recommendations on Wednesday, February 14.