A fife leisure centre is set to close for 14 months to allow major refurbishment works to be completed.
Cowdenbeath Leisure Centre will shut from April 2024 after Fife’s Cabinet Committee approved the business case for the £7.793m project at a meeting on Thursday.
It also rubber stamped a further £250,000 to relocate the library from Cowdenbeath’s High Street to the refurbished leisure centre.
Paul Vaughan, head of communities and neighbourhoods service, asked the committee to approve the integration of the library service into the leisure centre to “generate a capital receipt opportunity by vacating the standalone library on the High Street.”
“The delivery of the refurbishment project will reduce the number of assets in Cowdenbeath by creating space to dispose of the library on the High Street,” the report said.
The current centre attracts nearly 150,000 visitors per year. However, the report states that if the facility “does not receive investment in the near future it will increase the likelihood of future maintenance closures to a deteriorating facility and result in increased customer resistance and loss of income.”
“The current facility is rundown and requires regular maintenance and health and safety upgrades,” Mr Vaughan described in his report. “The gym space is not fit for purpose for the demand locally, and complementary, studio-based activities are currently delivered from meeting room spaces.”
The refurbishment programme is scheduled for April 2024 which will require a full closure of the facility for approximately 14 months.
“The works will impact on Fife Sport and Leisure Trust’s (FSLT’s) operational budget due to loss of income. Alternative venues are being explored to accommodate the existing programmes,” a report to committee explained.
The proposed works include: enhancing the gym space and increasing capacity; a new dedicated fitness/aerobic studio space for group activity; and a flexible space for relocating the existing library service from the High Street.
The sports hall floor will be replaced due to flood damage. Sauna and steam rooms will also be replaced and the wet side changing area will be refurbished.
The outdoor Synthetic Turf Pitch (STP) will also be replaced and repurposed towards the end of the project while external improvements will make the centre a “more appealing asset to visit.”
Councillor Rosemary Liewald (SNP for Lochgelly, Cardenden and Benarty) wanted to see more engagement and consultation on the plans.
“There have been some concerns from colleagues regarding the consultation for this. Are we at a stage where we can reveal any plans? Will the car parks be out of action for an indefinite period? Is there more that can be added to what we have in the paper?”
Mr Vaughan assured the committee more extensive consultation will take place as the project progresses.
Councillor Linda Erskine (Labour for Lochgelly, Cardenden and Benarty) added: “I think that everybody knows the condition of the library. To be able to move it and bring it up to date in a centre that is fit for purpose is very welcome.”