A CULTURE boss has backed plans to build a new leisure centre in East Renfrewshire.

Anthony McReavy, chief executive of East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Trust, claimed the council should spend more than £27million on a new facility.

The existing Eastwood Leisure Centre, run by ERCLT, is under review, with the council running a consultation and proposing four options for its future.

Those include creating a new centre in a different location, maintaining the current site for £49,000-a-year or spending £11m on repairs and installing a new pool.

Another option includes transforming the existing building into a modern leisure space for £15m.

Independent Councillor David Macdonald has proposed a fifth solution online, claiming the local authority’s HQ in Eastwood Park should be demolished to make way for a new facility.

But Mr McReavy said: “Our facilities must reflect the increasing demand for health and fitness, including a larger gym and space to offer fitness and spin classes and sports activities. We also need a theatre, outdoor sports facilities, arts and community spaces and cafe.

“Therefore, we strongly support option four – a new state-of-the-art culture and leisure facility on a different site within the Eastwood area.

“Our preferred option would also avoid disruption for our customers. Any other choice would require the current facility to be closed for significant periods for maintenance or refurbishment.”

Mr McReavy’s comments come as Mr Macdonald again insisted his ‘option five’ was the best way forward.

Under his plans, some services would move to Eastwood House and staff would move to Barrhead.

Half of the existing car park at the council HQ would be used for the new leisure centre, with the other half being turned into a multi-storey parking facility.

Mr Macdonald also wants to relocate the fitness studio to Overlee Pavilion and designate half of the adjacent car park for gym parking. This would be free for two hours, with charges thereafter.

He said: “East Renfrewshire Council need to better utilise their buildings and to better consolidate their locations for staff.”

Mr Macdonald added that Eastwood Park Theatre should be kept intact.
However, a council spokesman said: “This proposal from Councillor Macdonald would present significant additional costs, and other major issues, on top of the £25-£30m required to build a new leisure centre.”