£1m funding pledge safeguards future of Fife leisure centre
The future of Beacon Leisure Centre in Burntisland is looking brighter after Fife Council pledged to invest £1m in the facility allowing it to re-open when Covid restrictions allow.
There were growing concerns for the venue last year after it remained the only one run by Fife Sport and Leisure Trust to remain closed since the start of lockdown last March - sparking fears over its future.
Bosses have been looking at finding ways to allow it to open again safely as the centre – which includes a 25m pool and flumes as well as a gym , sauna and steam room – wasn’t designed to cope with two metre social distancing.
There were also serious technical issues with the water flow - its circulation doesn’t meet industry standard under COVID regulations.
Experts were drafted in come up with a plan to try to solve the problems.
Now it appears these issues can be resolved thanks to £1m funding allocated in Fife Council’s capital investment plan which will allow the necessary repairs and maintenance to be carried out as well as an upgrade to rectify building issues.
Councillor Judy Hamilton, the council’s communities spokeswoman, said the local authority has worked hard with the trust to keep the Beacon open.
Last February, Bridget Fraser of Burntisland Amateur Swimming Club, which uses the Beacon for training, organised a petition which generated 5000 names in a bid to save it.
Cllr Hamilton said: “I saw then how impassioned people were, and how much the Beacon means to them.
"Since then, I have met with Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, Fife Council management; and been to visit the Beacon to see what it would take to keep it open.“We discovered there were technical issues that required investment to fix and we've had specialists in to advise us on the technical matters. I have repeatedly made the case for these matters to be considered as a priority for investment.
“The announcement of £1m investment to upgrade these facilities is very welcome. I was delighted to agree it in the capital budgets."
The funding news was welcomed by the swimming club.
Bridget Fraser said: “We will keep championing the Beacon and pushing for it to re-open as soon as possible.”
Burntisland Labour councillor Gordon Langlands added: “The details of the upgrade have as yet not been finalised but hopefully Fife Sports and Leisure Trust will take this opportunity of an upgraded facility to increase footfall, restore staffing levels, increase opening hours and make the Beacon a “go to” destination for visitors post Covid.”
Wendy Watson, chief operating officer for Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, said: “We welcome the additional funding for the Beacon which is a boost to the work already underway at the facility.
"We have been working hard during lockdown to implement and deliver solutions for the Beacon which will meet the needs of COVID protocols.
"The building’s configuration makes social distancing and other COVID health and safety measures more difficult to put in place.
"We will continue to keep the local community updated on our progress.”