Community Council seeks views on fate of closure-threatened sports centre

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Larbert, Stenhousemuir and Torwood Community Council want local residents to tell them what they think of a plan to axe a local sports centre in favour of a gym facility.

Falkirk Community Trust has been criticised by some for planning a scheme critics say will disadvantage many current users in favour of a venture they argue won’t benefit the whole community.

However the Trust says the centre is financially unviable at present, and that its planned specialist gym facility would ensure long term financial health and “provide a local venue that Falkirk gymnasts could be proud of”.

The Trust says updates on its plan will be posted on the Falkirk Community Trust website over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile the community council’s social media post on the issue has met with a wide range of opinions, both for and against the plan.

One man said: “Maximising usage of the facility must be the driver.

“If this is through changing to a gymnastics only facility, then that must be a good thing.”

However in reply another responded: “But not all children want to do gymnastics.

“Currently the centre offers dancing for toddlers, tennis, Highland dancing and Tae kwon do.

“What will happen to those activities?

“If the centre only focuses on one type of sport then it excludes others.

“Surely that is obvious and not in the interests of the community as a whole”.

Another contributor, worried at the possible loss of facilities, said: “My children have used/are using it for tennis, dancing, Tae kwon do and Highland dancing over the last several years.

“There are also a number of classes for adults (Zumba, Pilates, Scottish skimmers etc) and adult groups that use the facility weekly.

“I would be very sorry to see the Centre use change and would miss the classes that many families and I attend”.

However another local woman is enthusiastic about the plan, but with a heavy qualification.

She said: “Personally I’d be very supportive of this. High quality gymnastics facilities are rare in Scotland and I’d like to see more clubs reach out to boys as well as girls.

“It’s a fantastic sport for both. However, I think Falkirk Council really needs to invest in its sport and leisure facilities throughout the area.

“Grangemouth Pool, the Stadium, and the Mariner Centre are all run down to some extent or another.”

One local man strongly opposed to the scheme said: “This centre is operated using public funds and should be available to all sports not be a single use facility for one group of sports.

“This proposal is selfish, short sighted and should be scrapped before it ever gets off the ground”.

Another opponent of the gym plan said she’d found no evidence of a consultation on whether or not it should go ahead.

She said: “There’s already a gymnastic facility in Falkirk five miles down the road - make that better rather than taking away a multi use facility and prioritise it for one sport!”

The community council has asked residents to send it their views at lstcommunitycouncil@gmail.com