A new swimming pool and leisure facility for Helensburgh is a key factor in considering which options to pursue for two prime development sites in the town.
That was the message from Argyll and Bute’s spokesperson for sport and leisure, Councillor Rory Colville, as the consultation on the draft masterplans for the pier head and former Hermitage Academy sites continues.
The two principal options for the pier head involve either a new swimming pool and leisure facility and flexible retail space with residential units and parking, or omitting the swimming pool and leisure facility and instead giving the entire site over to retail and housing with associated parking.
At the former Hermitage site, the two main options are either to allocate the entire site for housing, or to have the majority of it for housing with one area reserved for a new swimming pool and leisure facility.
In March 2009, the council approved a plan to use capital receipts from the development of Helensburgh’s pier head to offset the costs of a new swimming pool and leisure facility.
Councillor Colville said: “The current swimming pool and leisure centre is simply not good enough, either in terms of its physical condition or in terms of being able to cope with the demands from all the various groups and individuals who wish to use it.
“If we did nothing, the problem would get worse rather than go away. The council would face significant and increasing ongoing maintenance and repair costs in a facility getting to the end of its useful lifespan.
“This is a pivotal moment in Helensburgh’s future development, with major implications not just for leisure in the town but also for the retail and housing sectors.
“There is an opportunity to make a real and lasting difference to the vitality and dynamism of the town centre, as well as transforming Helensburgh’s swimming and leisure facilities.
“As a council, we want to make sure that our decisions take into account the views and aspirations of the largest possible proportion of those people who will be most affected by them – the people of Helensburgh and the surrounding area.
“So I would urge everyone who is able to take part in the consultation on the masterplans for the pier head and the former Hermitage Academy sites to do so, either online or by attending one of the two upcoming open days.”
The dedicated Helensburgh masterplans consultation page on the council’s website is at http://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/helmasterplans, where visitors will find copies of the draft masterplans as well as the online response form and other relevant documents.
The two open days are on Friday, January 13 from 1pm to 8pm and on Saturday, January 14 from 10am to 3pm, both at Helensburgh’s Victoria Halls.