A year of making a big splash in Kirkcaldy

The gym has proved popular
The gym has proved popular

Town’s £15m leisure centre marks its first anniversary

It was born out of controversy but a year on Kirkcaldy Leisure Centre is marking its first anniversary in the town.

The £15.3m state-of-the-art facility officially opened its doors on September 30 last year and since then, over 300,000 customers have been enjoying the wide-range of facilities and programmes on offer.

Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, which manages the leisure centre, has released the centre’s annual attendance figures and has praised staff for their hard work in delivering the facility’s activities.

According to figures from the Trust, 307,881 people have chosen to visit the new complex with 145,858 customers using the centre’s swimming pools and health suite and 162,023 using dryside facilities such as the gym, sports hall and fitness classes.

The Trust says this compares with 108,529 customers who used the old Kirkcaldy Swimming Pool for the previous 12 months.

But while the new centre may be welcomed by locals now, it did prove to be controversial long before it opened it doors.

Following months of heated debate in 2009, councillors finally rubber-stamped the location for the facility which drew many objections from the public.

The site selected was the Tolbooth Street car park which was well used by nearby businesses as well as shoppers.

A campaign was mounted to try and save the car park, but despite widespread opposition, the committee decided the new centre should be built there.

Parking has also been an issue at the centre.

Since opening, cars are frequently seen parking on the pavement around the complex, but there are plans to try and resolve the problem.

Councillor Neil Crooks, Kirkcaldy area committee chairman, said: “There is no doubt the investment has been significant and the centre appears to be very popular.

‘‘ However, parking is definitely an issue.

‘‘The area committee commissioned a feasilbility study to be undertaken by transportation to assess options for removing the dualled area of the Esplanade with a view to improving connectivity with the waterfront and how we can create additional parking around the leisure centre.”

He added it’s hoped the feasibility study report will be completed soon to kickstart a new local parking plan for the town centre.

Better range of facilities

Ed Watson, chief executive for Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, said: “Kirkcaldy Leisure Centre presented a real opportunity for the Trust to deliver a much better range of leisure opportunities thanks to the addition of more dryside facilities compared to the town’s old swimming pool.

“It is extremely encouraging to see so many people, of all ages, taking advantage of the centre.”