Residents show support for new leisure facility

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The majority of East Renfrewshire residents would like to see a brand new Eastwood Leisure Centre built on an alternative site.

East Renfrewshire Council sought the views of the public to consider the best way forward for providing leisure facilities which meet residents’ needs in the future.

Results from a six-week consultation found that more than half of respondents were in favour of creating a state-of-the-art centre.

Residents had been given the chance to save the existing facility for as little as £49,000 per year but 54 per cent voted for a brand-new centre as their first preference.

And with 3,601 responses through the council’s online consultation tool and hard copies, it is one of the biggest responses ever to an East Renfrewshire consultation.

A report by Andrew Cahill, the council’s director of environment, said: “The consultation generated one of the highest response rates to any consultation exercise previously carried out by the council.

“There was a clear desire for a new, larger facility on a new site with a wider offering of services.

“In total 1,864 respondents voted ‘option D’ as first preference giving it more than the other three options combined.”

Option D is a proposal to build a whole new facility to replace the current Eastwood Leisure Centre at a cost of £27.69m.

The new site, if it goes ahead, is expected to be almost three times the size of the existing complex, with the potential for a competition-equipped swimming pool and a spectator area.

Read more: Tories fight against moving Eastwood leisure Centre

Plans are also expected to include a new gym, modern changing facilities, a minimum of six badminton courts, two studios, four outdoor five-a-side football pitches and 210 parking spaces.

There could also be space for a conference suite, a play area, a library and staff facilities..

Mr Cahill added: “In response to a suggested list of potential facilities for a new centre, gym with fitness equipment, teaching swimming pool and a multi-purpose dance, fitness and activity studio were ranked as being the most desirable.

“Respondents who provided comments highlighted concerns about green space and advocated retaining or replacing the theatre.”

Councillors are expected to consider seven sites for the potential new building in the coming months.

Those sites include Broomburn Park, Woodfarm Pavilion and playing fields, Overlee Pavilion and playing fields, Braidbar, Rouken Glen Park, Shawwood Park in Newton Mearns and Eastwood Park.

An East Renfrewshire Council spokesman said: “It is proposed that a full report will be brought before a future council meeting which

will consider in detail potential sites, with a range of issues being taken into account. This will include legal matters, transport, the emerging Local Development Plan 2 and the potential master planning of Eastwood Park.”

The current Eastwood Leisure Centre was built more than 40 years ago to provide facilities for residents in the former Eastwood District.

East Renfrewshire Council launched the consultation earlier this year after the centre was deemed to be reaching the end of its natural lifespan.

Other options open to residents to vote on included an £11m plan to address the current repairs backlog while installing a new pool.

There was a £15.53m proposal to transform the existing facility into a modern leisure space.

And £49,000 per year could have been spent on fixing maintenance issues as they arise.