Closure of Auchinleck Leisure Centre

Statement from Richard Grieveson, Depute Chief Executive, East Ayrshire Council

 “The future of leisure provision in Auchinleck and Cumnock has been under review for several years, prompted by our decision in 2014 to merge two secondary schools in the area, namely Auchinleck Academy and Cumnock Academy. 

“The Barony Campus, one of the largest in Scotland at that time, opened to pupils in June 2021, with state-of-the-art football and rugby pitches, sports halls and within walking distance of Visions Leisure Centre.

“Between February and May 2020 we consulted with existing users of the facilities at Auchinleck Leisure Centre to determine local needs and expectations for future leisure provision in the area and the overriding concern at that time was the potential loss of the pitches and indoor facilities.

“East Ayrshire Leisure Trust assumed responsibility for the running of the Barony Sports Village at the new campus in June 2021, and in October 2021 Cabinet agreed that Auchinleck Leisure Centre should remain open on a temporary basis as a stand-alone facility, to allow for a detailed cost analysis of its viability to be carried out.

“In May 2022 East Ayrshire Leisure Trust commissioned an independent study of Auchinleck Leisure Centre and it is the recommendations and associated significant cost implications arising from these that have prompted our final decision to decommission the pool in Auchinleck. These recommendations are set out in the extract from the confidential report presented to cabinet on Wednesday 25 October.

“Given the proximity of Visions Leisure Centre and the Barony Sports Village, the level of sports provision in these communities can be maintained.

“Cabinet approved the following recommendations, which set out a clear pathway forward for the provision of leisure in these communities, reducing the financial pressures on East Ayrshire Council. We estimate that this will save the Council approximately £400k pa in running costs as well as the £6.5m capital investment which will be required to retain the facility.”

  • (viii) that Auchinleck Pool closes as at November 2023 with provision being relocated to Visions Leisure Centre with no disruption to service. 
  • (ix) that Facilities and Property Management commence full closure and demolition of the former Auchinleck Academy from April 2024. 
  • (x) that lighting is upgraded at the former Auchinleck Academy Football Pitch to allow Auchinleck Talbot to continue to train at this facility until the end of March 2024. 
  • (xi) to remit to the Chief Officer of East Ayrshire Leisure Trust to work with Auchinleck Talbot to move to Merlin Park from April 2024 with a view to securing funding to install a 3g pitch with associated lighting by the end of 2024. 
  • (xii) that at the end of the Auchinleck Talbot residency, the transfer of the upgraded lighting be moved from the former Auchinleck Academy to Loudoun Leisure Centre which also required upgrading. 
  • (xiii) to note that the Cabinet decisions and subsequent actions from 27 October 2021 in respect of Cumnock and Area Leisure Hub Update report had been addressed as detailed within paragraphs 33 to 37 of the report. 
  • (xiv) to note the specific Asks from the Trustees shown at paragraphs 33 to 35 and contained in Appendix 4 of the report. 
  • (xv) that Facilities and Property Management commence full closure and demolition of the former Auchinleck Academy from April 2024. 
  • (xvi) to approve recommendations (ii), (iii) and (iv) above in advance of any consideration by the Governance and Scrutiny Committee under the call-in process as to delay these decisions would mean a delay in the Group receiving the payments.