PUBLIC Being Asked About Potential Leisure Facility Closures

16 January, 2023 | Local

SAVINGS proposals worth more than £700,000 across the leisure services in Inverclyde have gone out to public consultation.

The cost-cutting measures include a voluntary redundancy trawl, potential closures of some leisure and community facilities, and reduced opening times.

If all were taken, it would mean the loss of 23 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs and total savings of £712,000 across the Inverclyde Leisure (IL) estate.

IL manages the day-to-day running of local leisure, sports and community venues on behalf of the council, which owns facilities and subsidises the leisure trust and is facing a substantial funding gap over the next few years.

The savings proposals include reduced opening hours of town halls and Gourock Outdoor Pool and potential closures of Port Glasgow Swimming Pool, Crawfurdsburn and Strone/Maukinhill community centres and Ravenscraig Stadium.

Shutting Greenock Sports Centre and the Indoor Bowling Centre, with relocation of the Strength Shed at the sports centre to the indoor bowls site, is also being proposed.

People are now being invited to have their say by taking part in an online survey.

Councillor Stephen McCabe, leader of Inverclyde Council, said: “Neither myself, fellow councillors, council officers nor IL management want to be looking at cutting jobs, closing leisure facilities, and reducing opening hours but we have been left with no other option.

“Chronic underfunding of councils, loss of income and reduced usage of leisure facilities following the covid-19 pandemic, and increased energy costs have created a perfect storm.

“We have first class leisure facilities in Inverclyde and we would much rather build on the significant investment in those facilities in recent years but the dire financial situation facing local government means we have to look at savings instead.

“Ultimately these are public facilities so it’s important that as many people as possible take part in this consultation to let us know their priorities before any final decisions are made.”

A spokesman from Inverclyde Leisure said: “This consultation process gives the local community an opportunity to have their input.”

The latest position suggests the council’s funding gap could be as much as £16 million over the 2023/25 period.

Feedback from the consultation will give councillors information they require to work together to set a balanced budget and council tax levels, decisions usually taken in February or March.

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