Kirkliston centre faces cuts

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ACCESS to leisure facilities in Kirkliston are to be cut despite the village’s population set to boom in the years ahead.

The opening hours at Kirkliston Leisure Centre are to be reduced to just 32 hours per week compared to 79 at present. The centre will also close on Sundays.

Edinburgh Leisure (EL) states it has taken the decision in order to meet the financial challenges ahead.

But village community leaders believe Edinburgh Leisure is “lacking vision” as regards to the future of the facility.

Earlier this year, the leisure centre was threatened with closure, a fate similar to that of Queensferry Recreation Centre in February, unless user levels increased. Discussions were held between Kirkliston Community Council and EL to find a solution.

This did not happen and the council now say the level of income and usage growth fell considerably short of that required to meet their targets.

This now means the centre’s hours will revert from 9am to 10pm, Monday to Friday, and 9am to 4pm at weekends to 5pm to 10pm, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 4.30pm to 10pm on Tuesdays; 1pm to 10pm on Thursdays; and from 10am to 1.30pm on Saturdays.

Edinburgh Leisure is also keen to look at possible user groups and key clubs running the building.

John Comiskey, chief executive of Edinburgh Leisure said: “We understand that this decision may be disappointing to some local residents of Kirkliston and we hope that they will appreciate the environment in which the decision was taken.”

Steve Lee, chairman of Kirkliston Community Council, however, said: “We are bitterly disappointed with the news. Kirkliston Community Council has battled long and hard to try to keep the centre open in its present form. We’ve worked closely with Edinburgh Leisure over recent years and tried to stimulate usage through a ‘use it or lose it’ campaign.

“We appreciate that Edinburgh Leisure is not a charity, and is just trying to cover its costs. However, we’ve always felt that the pricing structure in place has not helped. In these tough economic times, many users are going further afield – to Broxburn for example, where under West Lothian Council, the facilities on offer are just as good, but considerably cheaper.

“With the ongoing development of almost 700 new homes in the village, we feel that Edinburgh Leisure’s decision is a backward step, lacking in vision. We sincerely hope that this is just a temporary move, and that the opening hours may be increased in the future.”