No red card for sportsdrome

COUNCILLORS have moved to allay fears over the future of the Allander Leisure centre’s sportsdrome.

The popular annexe building is used by hundreds of people every week, primarily for football and tennis.

There are fears that it may have to close for a substantial period of time, or that the space may even be lost forever, when the Allander Leisure is knocked down so that a new centre can be built.

One retired principal PE teacher said: “I cannot believe the council administration has decided to take the sportsdrome away when a new centre is built.

Guarantees

“It is essential for Scottish sport that there are as many affordable indoor training areas as possible.”

However, councillors have given guarantees that there will be complete continuation of services while construction work is underway.

East Dunbartonshire Council (EDC) SNP group leader Ian Mackay, who recently led moves to have a new Allander built on the old one’s car park, said: “December 2011’s policy and resources committee agreed unanimously with my amendment to build a new sports centre on the existing car park site, providing a legally binding contract concerning the £10million developer contribution could be agreed with Cala/Stewart Milne.

“Also in my amendment was the commitment to set up a ‘champions working group’ to decide on how the new building will be procured and what exact facilities will be included. This group will have representatives from the user groups, the community, the leisure trust, relevant council officers and local councillors and will be in place early this year.

“It is worth remembering that council policy states that any new Allander must have at least the same facilities as the existing one, so concerns about the loss of the sportsdrome are unfounded.”

EDC LibDem group leader Ashay Ghai said: “The successful option which my colleagues and I favoured includes the maximum level of facilities and a total floor area equivalent to the present centre plus the sportsdrome.

“This was particularly important to us as we would not have supported a new build of lesser scale and scope when compared to the present leisure facilities available at the Allander site.

“In addition, the Liberal Democrat group took action last year to underline the council’s commitment to the present Allander centre - including sportsdome - during the construction phase, protecting these services for public use in the intervening period and allowing a smooth transition for local users.”

Allander Leisure has been at the centre of a five-year long wrangle between East Dunbartonshire Council and developers Cala/Stewart Milne over plans to build around 550 homes on land between Bearsden and Milngavie, known as the ‘Kilmardinny Strip’.

Insisted

The house builders wanted to tear down the existing sports centre and replace it with one part-funded by the council.

However, councillors insisted there must be no break in services while a new centre is being built.

Recently, they agreed to allow the construction of a new facility on the old one’s car park, provided sports services were still provided during construction, there was no loss of facilities at the new centre and the developers paid out £10m towards it.