East Renfrewshire Tories oppose new-build leisure facilities

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A proposal to create a new facility on an alternative site to replace Eastwood Park leisure complex has been blasted by the area’s Conservative politicians.

East Renfrewshire Council is currently consulting on the future of the leisure facilities, with one of the four options being a purpose-built facility on a new site.

But East Renfrewshire MP Paul Masterton, MSP Jackson Carlaw and several local councillors claim that option is riddled with difficulties.

They’ve also expressed concern over the first option of simply maintaining the current facility, saying that “after nearly a decade of underfunding” this does not go far enough towards addressing the needs of the local community.

The Conservative group has called for funds to be used to upgrade the facility, and are encouraging residents to support options two or three, which propose refurbishing and redeveloping the existing site.

Mr Masterton said: “We welcome this long overdue consultation on proposals regarding Eastwood Leisure Centre, which has suffered from under investment over many years.

“But we believe creating a new facility on a new site hasn’t been fully thought through and should be rejected.

“I am encouraging residents to push for a most cost-effective solution – either refurbishment or redevelopment on the existing site.

“This will ensure this part of East Renfrewshire has the first class sports and leisure facility residents deserve.”

Mr Carlaw added his criticism of the new build option, saying it raises many logistical problems that haven’t been properly answered.

“For example, would the new centre be built in Broomburn Park? That’s something we would oppose in the strongest possible terms,” he said. “If we gloss over the lack of a suitable location, further issues such as soaring costs, additional road infrastructure and traffic problems haven’t been thought through.

“We should instead be upgrading a popular local facility by refurbishing or re-building in the same location.”

Jim Swift, Newton Mearns South councillor, claimed there had been a lack of spending on the Eastwood Centre for more than a decade. He said the council had spent just a third on maintaining Eastwood Leisure Centre, which serves around 70,000 people, compared to Neilston Leisure Centre, serving 5000 people.

Cllr Swift added: “The solution is not wasting council tax payer’s money on a vanity project but instead looking after our assets over the longer term.

“If the new complex is to also include a new theatre, the costs for taxpayers will rocket exponentially, as will the parkland it requires to occupy.”

Details of all four options for Leisure in Eastwoodcan be found at getinvolved.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk

The consultation runs until June 19.