Future of Hallgen Centre sparks war of words

Hallglen Sports Centre is under threat of closure
Hallglen Sports Centre is under threat of closure

Plans for councillors to work together to find a solution to budget headaches appear to have already hit problems.

Last week, Falkirk Community Trust revealed it would need to make swingeing cuts if it was to balance its books in the coming financial year.

Proposals include closing Hallglen Sports Centre in a bid to save cash.

The trust has now presented its Business Plan to Falkirk Council officials.

However, when the news broke last week, there was a backlash over comments made by one councillor who represents the Hallglen area.

When asked about the plan, Councillor Gerry Goldie said: “It’s not well used by the community. We asked for more support from the trust a number of years ago and things like an upgraded gym were added, but it’s not been successful and the sport centre isn’t busy.

“It will be a shame if it closes, but it is understandable if it’s not getting the numbers through the doors.”

Now the SNP opposition claim his comments mean the Labour-led administration has already taken the decision to close the centre.

It’s group leader, Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, said: “Gerry Goldie’s comments were crass and insensitive. I am calling on a full investigation as to why adminstration councillors are informing staff of possible job losses before management have had the chance to brief staff or any open and accountable decision taken regarding any service cut.”

But Councillor Craig Martin, council leader, said no decision had yet been made. He added that the opposition members had been briefed six days before his own members.

He said: “Gerry has not been at council meetings recently because of ill health so he had no briefing – the Labour group briefing only took place on Monday.”