Trust denies claims over leisure centre changes

The Trust blames a cut in its management fee for the decision to cut hours.
The Trust blames a cut in its management fee for the decision to cut hours.

Fife Sports and Leisure Trust has come under further scrutiny over its decision to cut the opening hours of leisure centres in Cupar and St Andrews.

The Trust has cut opening hours at Cupar Leisure Centre and East Sands Leisure Centre, citing budget pressures and highlighting a £4 million drop in the annual management fee it receives from Fife Council over the last decade.

However, concerns were raised at the recent Cupar Community Council meeting about how the decision to make the cuts at the town’s leisure centre was made.

It was claimed that usage figures, used to work out what hours should be cut, only took into account users who paid each time, and not users who are card-carrying members.

It was also claimed that staff at the centre were not consulted about the changes and only found out after the decision had been made.

The Trust denies both claims.

Councillor Margaret Kennedy said: “I continue to be concerned that the hours removed do not correlate with actual usage.

“In addition, I have been asking questions as to the legal articles from the set up of the Trust; there is nothing, which I see at first review, that indicates that it would be prevented in being more proactive and collaborative with its users ahead of formal delivery changes.

“Fundamentally, I am still very disappointed in how the decisions have been arrived at and hopeful that the Trust will follow through on its promise to consult with the wider user group early in 2020.”

Wendy Watson, chief operating officer for Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, rejected both the claims.

She said: “Concerns raised around usage being calculated solely on paying customers is inaccurate – all activity areas and users, paying and pre-paying members, were taken into account when reviewing operating costs.”

Ms Watson also branded claims that the staff were not consulted about the planned changes “inaccurate”, saying the Trust consulted trade unions and staff affected by the changes.”