Councillors back plans to consolidate leisure venues in Perth

Councillors back plans to consolidate leisure venues in Perth

Perth and Kinross councillors have approved plans to consolidate three sporting venues into a single site.

Perth Leisure Pool and Dewar’s and Bell’s sports centres will be replaced by the new PH20 project in the next five years.

PH20 is currently set to provide leisure swimming in a modern flexible pool and maintain a teaching pool for lessons and training, but not any ice provision.

Officers have also been asked to prepare a report detailing the cost of including ice facilities in the new centre alongside a pool and sports halls.

Ahead of the vote, Perth and Kinross Council leader Councillor Grant Laing described Dewars Centre, Bell’s Sports Centre and Perth Leisure Pool as “ageing facilities”.

He said the facilities need around £3 million spent on basic maintenance with a further £12m to try and improve their energy efficiency – although that money will have limited effect because of their age and design. 

Cllr Laing said: “Today councillors agreed to consolidate Perth’s three sporting venues into a single site over the next five years.

“I am pleased consensus has been reached to take the PH20 project forward. This will provide leisure swimming in a modern, flexible pool and we’ve also instructed officers to come back in August with a fully costed plan that will include the provision of ice facilities in the new building.

“This has been a difficult decision but it is one councillors had to take. As an administration, we understand leisure venues are hugely important to our communities and I recognise the rich sporting history of the Dewar’s Centre as well as those of Bell’s and Perth Leisure Pool.

“However, it is no longer affordable to continue running these centres as they are approaching the end of their practical lifespans, and they incur significant running and maintenance costs. Access to quality leisure venues matter to everyone in our area, not just Perth. For that reason, this report also makes recommendations about future investment in Crieff and in Kinross, alongside the £35 million we are already investing in new facilities for Blairgowrie.

“Change is always challenging. However, as budgets tighten the council will have to continue to make even more difficult decisions as we look to prioritise those in the greatest needs such as the over 6,000 children currently living in poverty across Perth and Kinross. There are households in Perth and Kinross currently having to choose between heating and eating and people with complex support needs who need assistance to live independently in their own homes.

“It is vital we make the right decisions for all these people and their needs, both in the present and for in the future.”

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