GIRVAN will have the best leisure facility on the south-west coast of Scotland to replace the swimming pool which was demolished, against the wishes of local people, last year.
That was the message from South Ayrshire Council officials during a series of drop-in sessions to consult people on the proposals for the replacement of the pool.
Regeneration project leaders insist that the artist’s impression, pictured above, is not a final design and is only a “concept” to take to potential funders.
But at the drop-in sessions it was revealed there are plans for a six-lane, 25-metre swimming pool, a restaurant and a “gathering space” which could include a stage, a cinema and an arts centre.
However there was some anger over the lack of advertising for the events which many people simply did not know about. Many local parents were left in the dark about the meetings at the Carrick Buildings which ran from Friday last week until last night.
There was confusion between the council and members of the local community over whether the event was for the general public or not.
Council officials said that the meetings were to engage with “arts and culture, sports representatives and young people” in the area, but community councillors insisted that the drop-in sessions were “public events” and should have been advertised as such.
One parent, who did not wish to be named, said: “It’s as if they don’t want us to be there, they don’t want our input, they have already decided what is going to happen.”
One local man is understood to have taken a day off work last week to distribute leaflets to the villages around Girvan and a “bag drop” on March 11 at Girvan Primary School, where the leaflets were to be put in the children’s schoolbags to take home to parents, was postponed as the school was “advised by a South Ayrshire Council official to hold back - no reason given”.
The leaflets went into children’s bags on Friday, the same day as the first event.
Girvan and District Community Council Chairman Alec Clark has warned that the public must not feel disenfranchised by the consultation process, and has insisted that all future consultation meetings be publicised well in advance.
South Ayrshire Council however say that the main consultations on the design of the new buildings, including the swimming pool, have yet to take place, and that the public in Girvan will be given every opportunity to have their say.
Roddy MacDonald, head of community development at SAC, said: “We are fully committed to working and consulting with local people in Girvan and South Carrick as we progress plans for the new multi-faceted facility at Girvan and we were pleased to see so many people come along to the initial consultation events over the weekend.
“Publicity was led by a ‘school bag drop’ to circulate information out to young people and their families, which was completed and we have already received significant input from young people through participation in our online survey.
“Following local feedback, we intend to use the local press to publicise events in tandem with other methods for future consultation events. This is only the first of many more sessions that will take place and we will take on board the feedback from these initial sessions to shape our plans. We welcome and look forward to the input from the local community as these plans progress.”