Council approves £18m bid for 'well overdue' community hub plans

The hub is expected to feature a swim centre, spa and wellness centre, a fitness centre and a relocated library.

Renfrewshire council chiefs to bid for £18 million funding from UK government for community hub iStock
Hub: Council will bid for almost £18 million funding from UK Government

Council chiefs will bid for almost £18 million in funding to turn a former police station and the swimming baths in Renfrew into a community hub after the plans were dubbed “well overdue”.

Elected members were “delighted” to see a comprehensive report, outlining the extent and cost of the plans, presented at Tuesday’s Economy and Regeneration Board.

The ambitious project — which could see the creation of a swim centre with enhanced pool facilities, spa and wellness centre, a dance and fitness centre and a relocated library — is expected to cost £19.92 million.

An application will be submitted for £17.92 million from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund, with Renfrewshire Council due to cover the remaining £2million in estimated fees.

Councillor Iain McMillan said: “[I’m] absolutely delighted to see this. I think for too long now you’ve been going past that area and it looks tired and dilapidated.

“As someone who swims on a regular basis, it’s great to see money being put into the Renfrew baths. I think anybody that swims in this area has got a soft spot for Renfrew baths, it’s like walking back in time when you go into it.

“The staff are excellent, changing facilities are great and the pool is really, really good.”

Documents explain how the council “considered a range of options” in the town, but concluded the “strongest opportunity” lay with bringing the empty former police station back into use and enhancing facilities at Renfrew Victory Baths.

Bosses recognised “that both buildings need significant investment to secure their long-term legacy and use.”

The council says that a successful application would tackle the “long-term challenges of vacant and underused civic assets” in Renfrew, “supporting their restoration” and “acting as a catalyst for a wider transformation” of the town centre.

Councillor Marie McGurk said she expected the community to be “absolutely delighted” about the progression of the plans.

She said: “I welcome this report and I’m absolutely delighted that the hub, at long last, is actually going to happen in Renfrew.

“This is well overdue. I know the facilities really well, I know they’re very well supported by the community and I think they’ll be absolutely delighted to see this work starting soon.”

The report was agreed, meaning the bid will be submitted to the UK Government ahead of a July 6 deadline.

Should the application be successful, proposals will be developed in further detail and reported to the board as appropriate.