Frustration and anger over findings of Eastwood Leisure Centre consultation

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The results of the Eastwood Leisure Centre consultation have come under fire from councillors and residents.

Last week, The Extra reported the findings of the six-week consultation that showed 54 per cent were in favour of a brand new centre as their first preference (Option 4).

However, residents have hit back over potential sites, setting up social media campaigns in an attempt to save their local greenspace.

Councillors slammed aspects of the consultation including the fairness of the study, with claims that questions and options were misleading.

Councillor David Macdonald (Independent) said: “My personal view is that the consultation was anything but honest and open.

“Firstly, It has been noted by many of my constituents that the wording of the consultation was such that it was clearly obvious what was the most favourable option to both East Renfrewshire Council and to ERCLT.

“It is as clear as day that the option most preferred by East Renfrewshire Council is indeed a new build in a new location.

“The option for a new build in a new location was completely flawed from the outset as it failed to divulge any of the options that would be considered at a later date.”

Cllr Macdonald continued: “Residents were not being given enough information to be given an informed choice.

“It was in effect, a leap of faith and a stab in the dark for many. Nobody was and still nobody is knowledgeable of what sites were being considered.”

However, an East Rendrewshire Council spokesman said: “The consultation, which attracted one of the highest ever response rates, was held to get the views of residents about the type of leisure facilities they wanted to see for Eastwood in the future.

“It was made extremely clear within the consultation that if a new leisure facility was the preferred option then extensive feasibility work would be required to identify a suitable site.

“Some potential site options were, however, outlined within the consultation to give residents additional information.

“Each of the options was also set out in a table providing like-for-like comparisons under a number of categories to ensure respondents had the extensive detail required to make an informed choice.”

Councillor Jim Swift has also raised the issue of the location, as well as the use of the preference based vote system used in the consultation process.

Cllr Swift said: “It is with considerable regret that I must conclude that the Council’s consultation was neither fairly balanced nor adequately reported in the paper to Council. It may even be that it was unlawful. That Shawwood and Broom Park are even being considered, never mind promoted, is absurd.”

The council spokesman continued: “By using preference-based voting it allowed the most popular first preference to be identified, with a new build leisure centre on a different site receiving more first preference votes than all the other options combined.

“This method also provided valuable information about which was the least preferred option with residents.”