A leisure trust is being asked to explain why cuts are being made to Low Port Centre – amidst claims its services are more in demand than ever.
Reader Catherine Hankey is among those who have been touch to express their dismay about the prospect of a lessened service at the centre – after arguing that public demand does in fact require its services to be extended.
Catherine said: “There are bookings for courses, many residential through until October 2020. The summer programme is fully booked. Currently extra staff are being brought in to cope with demand.
“Previous cuts mean staff are now working flat out all year round.
“Without Low Port, West Lothian’s schools would have to spend more money to secure outdoor activities or education supplied by commercial providers, often located some distance away.
“This is requiring children to travel up to four hours to and fro with negative effects on the environment. How is this sustainable?”
A spokesperson for West Lothian Leisure insisted that some key points had failed to be taken into account with regard to the service.
She said:“We are currently undergoing an exercise to make more efficient use of all staff and facilities, including those at the Low Port Centre, as we face a number of pressures including rising costs and diminished funding.
“A comprehensive consultation is still underway across all WLL facilities, and so no positions have been offered, confirmed or anything else, as yet. Our main goal is to allow all facilities to continue to deliver their best work for their customers and communities, but reduce hours and staffing to better reflect current and projected use of each site.
“At the moment, Low Port experiences peaks and troughs of use across the year – yet staffing and opening hours are largely consistent throughout, the cost of which is untenable in this climate. It is our intention that the exercise we are currently going through will address this.”
West Lothian Council has stressed that the trust is not its responsibility but wanted to comment from the standpoint of the centre being used as a resource for its schools.
A spokesperson said:”The council is aware of West Lothian Leisure’s recent review.
“It is our understanding that outdoor leisure facilities and courses will still continue to be provided at Low Port Centre .
“Therefore local schools will still continue to use the facility in future.”