Call to extend opening hours at north-east Fife leisure centres

North East Fife’s Liberal Democrats have called for opening hours at leisure centres in Cupar and St Andrews to be extended amid concern about unequal access across the region.

By Craig Smith, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Wednesday, 2nd February 2022, 12:13 pm

At a specially organised meeting, East Fife Sports Council (EFSC) insisted people in North East Fife are not getting the same treatment when it comes to leisure centres as communities in the rest of the Kingdom.

Swimming pools in Cupar and St Andrews are currently open for 65 hours per week, while facilities in Central and West Fife are open for more than 90.

This, EFSC told local councillors, causes great difficulties when clubs, classes, families and individuals are competing for this time.

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Councillors want to see the centres opening hours changed

Now there are demands for the Fife Sports and Leisure Trust to do more to increase access and provision throughout Fife.

Fife Council Liberal Democrat leader Tim Brett said: “I am fully behind this call for leisure centre opening hours to be extended.

“People in North East Fife deserve the same access to these services as people elsewhere in Fife.”

And North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie added: “Fife Council needs to support the Trust, but the Trust also needs to do better.

“It won’t build a strong, healthy, and active Fife if it only tries to balance its books every year.

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“Reduced services, like we have seen in Cupar and St Andrews, are the road to ruin.

“People are discouraged from using them and the problem only gets worse.

“The Trust should ensure its services in North East Fife are sustainable for the long-term and provide full opening hours.”

The issue has been addressed by Emma Walker, chief executive.

She said: “The forced closure of facilities and COVID restrictions have presented the trust significant challenges both operationally and financially.

“The situation has meant we have had to work harder, and innovate, to deliver on our charitable commitments to making a difference to local communities by delivering quality and affordable sports and leisure opportunities.

“Following on from the impact of COVID, we are now in a phase of recovery, and this requires some difficult decisions with regards operating costs, staffing and opening hours.”

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