A SPORTS centre that has faced the threat of closure is to have its hours slashed in a bid to remain open.
Kirkliston Leisure Centre will no longer open at all on Sundays, while its Saturday hours will be reduced to between 10am and 1.30pm.
It will also only open in the evening on three days a week as part of the changes, which will see its total hours cut from 81 at present to just 33.
Local residents say they are “bitterly disappointed” at the change, which will be introduced on February 1, and say it is a “backward step” in a village where 700 new homes are to be built.
Edinburgh Leisure bosses, however, insist they had no option because of the low usage of the centre.
Mark Elder, secretary of Kirkliston Community Council, said: “We are bitterly disappointed with the news. Kirkliston Community Council has battled long and hard to try to keep the centre open in its present format. We’ve worked closely with Edinburgh Leisure over recent years and tried to stimulate usage through a ‘use it or lose it’ campaign.
“We appreciate that Edinburgh Leisure is not a charity, and are just trying to cover their costs. However, we’ve always felt that the pricing structure in place has not helped. In these tough economic times, many users are going further afield – to Broxburn for example, where the facilities are just as good, but considerably cheaper.
“With the ongoing development of almost 700 new homes in the village, we feel that Edinburgh Leisure’s decision is a backward step, lacking in vision.”
The cost per customer visit to manage the centre is extremely high in comparison with other centres operated by Edinburgh Leisure.
The trust, which operates Edinburgh’s sports facilities on behalf of the city council, expects another four per cent reduction to its council funding in the coming financial year and is in the process of reviewing how to act.
The new opening hours will be 5pm-10pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 1pm-10pm on Thursdays; 10am-1.30pm on Saturdays and 4.30pm-10pm on Tuesdays.
Membership prices will be reduced to reflect the reduced availability of the facilities.
Edinburgh Leisure’s head of operations, Lindsay Renwick, said: “While Edinburgh Leisure remains committed to ensuring as many people as possible become and stay active, it must do so within an increasingly challenging financial environment. The alternative to reduced operating hours would be full site closure.
“We understand that this may be disappointing to some local residents of Kirkliston and hope that they will appreciate the environment in which this decision was taken.”