A special pool created in Moray to save patients suffering from chronic and acute conditions from having to travel as far as Dingwall has lost its funding from Moray Council.
The Moray Hydrotherapy Pool was opened in June 2011 after ten years of campaigning and fundraising led by Arthritis sufferer May Taylor. Prior to the opening of the Forres facility patients had to travel on a regular basis for their treatment to Dingwall.
Moray firm Springfield Properties built the pool free of charge while £260,000 to fit it out was collected through local fundraising efforts organised by Ms Taylor.
The facility received £20,000 a year from Moray Council as part of a three-year agreement and applied to the local authority for that funding to continue.
However, at Wednesday’s meeting of the children and young people’s services committee the casting vote of the chairman, Councillor Anne Skene, rejected the bid.
The committee were reminded that on agreeing the three-year package to be set against any operational losses by the pool, it was on the condition that the facility became self-sustaining in that time.
Councillors were told that the business had drawn down the full £20,000 each year.
A number of councillors spoke out against continued funding, including the convener, Councillor Allan Wright, who said: “It was a very clear understanding that this funding would be for three years.”
Councillor Eric McGillivray added: “We have kept our side of the bargain,” while Councillor George Alexander said: “We must stick to our guns and say no.”
While Keith Councillor Gary Coull moved that the local authority continue funding for a further year and that the matter be sent to the Moray Community Planning Partnership with a view to the NHS contributing additional funding towards the running of the pool, that was rejected by Councillor Skene who used her casting vote after the committee was tied six votes to six.