COUNCIL bosses don't yet know if the ground at a park in Auchinleck earmarked for new synthetic sports pitches will be suitable for the facilities, it's been revealed.

Members of the East Ayrshire Council (EAC) cabinet agreed this week to close the swimming pool and games hall at Auchinleck Leisure Centre with immediate effect over health and safety concerns.

Changing facilities at the centre will be retained for the time being, and the synthetic grass pitches (SGPs) at the site will continue to be used, until the village's Merlin Park has been upgraded with new replacement facilities.

At this week's cabinet meeting, concerns were raised over whether Merlin Park will be suitable for similar SGPs due to previous flooding issues at the site.

READ MORE: Auchinleck Leisure Centre pool and games hall shut for good

Council leader Douglas Reid asked officials whether there would be any issues with installing SGPs at the site.

The meeting was told ground sampling work would need to take place before Merlin Park could be confirmed as a suitable site for replacement facilities.

If it's confirmed that Merlin Park is suitable, drainage facilities will be installed underneath the new surface to protect against flooding.

Councillor John McFadzean (Conservative, Annick) asked if an alternative location would be examined if Merlin Park proved to be unsuitable.

The council's chief governance officer, David Mitchell, responded: "The proposal is absolutely being put forward as Merlin Park.

"If, as you [Cllr McFadzean] say in that hypothesis, for any reason that wasn't deliverable, it would absolutely be incumbent on officers to come back to cabinet and say the decision is not capable of being implemented, and there would need to be options.

"So the question 'would the will be there?' would almost be one for cabinet, if Merlin Park couldn't be delivered to provide a viable alternative.

That would manifest itself in a Cabinet decision and officers would need to go away and develop that.

"I think the general answer is 'yes', there is a recognition that a further pitch would be required and I think that's the council's commitment at this stage."