Lochhead pledge on Lossiemouth pool ahead of Full Council decision

Richard Lochhead - pledge over Lossiemouth High School plans
Richard Lochhead – pledge over Lossiemouth High School plans

RICHARD LOCHHEAD HAS pledge to do all he can to help secure the future of the under-threat Lossiemouth Swimming Pool.

The promise emerged from a meeting the Moray MSP had today with Roddy Burns, the Chief Executive of Moray Council, ahead of the Full Council meeting tomorrow.

That meeting will discuss the future structure of the replacement Lossiemouth High School, with options being placed before Councillors that include building the school without a swimming pool.

Councillors will be told that while the Scottish Futures Trust contribution towards the build of the new school can include two thirds of the cost of a new pool, it would still come at an additional price of around £800,000 to the local authority.

Officials have suggested that in the current financial climate Councillors may choose to build the new school without a pool – an option that has caused concern for Mr Lochhead, who arranged today’s meeting with Mr Burns to clarify the situation after speaking to concerned constituents in Lossiemouth.

Emerging from the meeting today, Mr Lochhead said: “Discussions with the Council’s Chief Executive on the replacement of Lossiemouth High School were on the whole positive.

“I emphasised how important it is that the community doesn’t lose this key and popular leisure facility, particularly at a time when plans are in place for expansion in the town and with RAF Lossiemouth expected to benefit from new investment and a new role.

“If the Scottish Futures Trust has stated that they would provide funding for two thirds of the cost of a replacement swimming pool, then it is absolutely vital that everyone involved in building the new High School and wider community partners work together to identify a way forward that would deliver a like for like replacement.

“I’ve made it clear to the Council that I will do what I can as Moray’s MSP to help secure the future of Lossie swimming pool.”

The Lossiemouth swimming pool is one of the most used and successful Council-owned sports facilities in Moray.

Councillors may, however, choose to delay a decision on the structure of the new school until next year, with the paper before the Full Council tomorrow saying: “The Council agreed the scope of the replacement for Lossiemouth High School at its meeting on 30 March 2016. The council’s financial position remains the same and the advice remains that it would be financially irresponsible to agree to invest in a new swimming pool at this time.

“However, it is also recognised that with a programme of community engagement on the council’s financial position currently under way, it could be regarded as premature to take a decision on reducing service provision at this time.

“The remaining option is to commit to additional design costs to enable both options to be kept open until December 2016, but a final decision would have to be made at that time.”