Users of closure-threatened Stenhousemuir Sports Centre await crunch decision

Regular users of Stenhousemuir Sports Centre  Roddy Dow and Colin Mackay say the community has effectively been ignored in what they see as an ill-advised bid to turn the facility into a profit-spinner for Falkirk Community Trust.
Regular users of Stenhousemuir Sports Centre Roddy Dow and Colin Mackay say the community has effectively been ignored in what they see as an ill-advised bid to turn the facility into a profit-spinner for Falkirk Community Trust.

Falkirk Community Trust is gearing up to issue a public statement next week on its plan to axe Stenhousemuir Sports Centre.

Trust general manager Neil Brown has explained in lengthy correspondence with one protester why the Trust considers the centre is no longer viable - and why in its view it should be replaced by a facility specialising in gymnastics.

One of what are said to be four pieces of paper posted at the centre advising users that the facility is running at a loss - and that it could become a gymnastics centre.

One of what are said to be four pieces of paper posted at the centre advising users that the facility is running at a loss - and that it could become a gymnastics centre.

But amid repeated complaints that it has failed to consult with any existing users about the planned closure the Trust is being accused of seeking to railroad through a contentious project feared set to cause problems for people who currently use pitches and the centre’s pavilion, as well as the main facility.

In correspondence the Trust has said this is not the case.

The scheme has been supported by Michael Matheson MSP, who agrees that gymnastics has become increasingly popular and should be promoted heavily at local level.

However protestor Roddy Dow says he and other users are disgusted at the way the Trust has, in his view, sidelined all criticism of its plan.

He says he has reliable information that the Trust “rubber-stamped” its decision to forge ahead with a gym centre at its last quarterly meeting.

“The Trust has effectively been the judge, jury and executioner of the centre”, said Mr Dow.

“If the ‘bright’ minds employed by the Trust had put their thinking towards how they could have improved the services offered instead of just closing them the outcome might have been different”.

He says what he argues has been a pre-determined policy of closure shows that the Trust “are not remotely interested in the health benefits that are being lost to the community”.

Falkirk Community Trust has not widely advertised its proposed scheme, and he fears the first many will know of the gym project is when what he sees as an inevitable closure announcement is made.

Neither Falkirk Council nor the Community Trust were able to comment on the issue on Friday, although its understood a statement is likely in the next few days.