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Aberdeen Beach Leisure Centre and Bucksburn Swimming Pool to CLOSE after £700,000 cut

The council will now demolish the Beach Leisure Centre as part of work on regenerating the seafront.

Sport Aberdeen funding cuts mean the Beach Leisure Centre and Bucksburn swimming pool will be shut
The Beach Leisure Cenrtre already lost its swimming pool last year, and now will be completely closed. Image: Kenny El;rick/DC Thomson

Aberdeen sports bosses have confirmed that the Beach Leisure Centre and Bucksburn Swimming Pool will close after a £700,000 council funding cut.

Sport Aberdeen runs 20 fitness venues – including six swimming pools at present.

Due to the high power bills involved with running such facilities, the organisation had already been left facing a million-pound rise in energy bills.

The group’s problems were compounded when the council’s SNP and Liberal Democrat ruling group yesterday pushed through a £687,000 reduction in its grant.

How the front page of Thursday’s Press and Journal covered the cuts. Image: Clarke Cooper/DC Thomson

The blow came as the authority battled to plug a £46.6 million funding gap, with six libraries across Aberdeen now also earmarked for closure.

In the wake of the vote, Sport Aberdeen’s board of directors faced some tough choices as they last night convened “lengthy” discussions on how to keep the charity afloat.

Funding blow has led to ‘regrettable’ decisions

Chairman, Tony Dawson, has now confirmed that the entire Beach Leisure Centre will be closed – and knocked down.

And faced with rising repair bills, the plug has also been pulled on Bucksburn Swimming Pool.

He said: “We are already working to minimise the impact on our customers and staff as best we can.”

Bucksburn Swimming Pool will be closed. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson

With that in mind, bosses will see if Bucksburn residents can make increased use of the Dyce Academy pool.

Mr Dawson added: “It would be our intention to move as many of our lessons there as possible to meet the significant demand that exists.

“Our immediate priority has been to reassure staff that their jobs are safe and that everyone will be offered roles at our other venues.”

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Dawson warned the closures could have “long-lasting consequences” for the city.

Sport Aberdeen Chairman Tony Dawson at Get Active @ Jesmond in Bridge of Don. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson

Just weeks until doors are closed for good

An email sent to Sport Aberdeen members on Thursday confirmed that both centres will close for the final time on Sunday, April 16.

The email explainx the impact of the “siginifcant reduction” in funding. Image: Sport Aberdeen

The message from managing director Alistair Robertson said the “reluctant” closures were the “only way to protect the long-term interests of the charity”.

He adds: “I know that this is an extremely disappointing outcome and I assure you that this decision was not taken lightly.”

The pool, the scene of many happy memories, will be demolished. Image: Amanda Gordon/DC Thomson

Why will Beach Leisure Centre be torn down?

The council’s SNP co-leader Alex Nicoll said the seafront fitness centre was nearing the end of its time anyway.

He added: “It is well known that the Beach Leisure Centre is at the end of its life cycle, which is why we are planning for a new facility as part of the beachfront masterplan.

“The leisure pool closed last year due to a combination of rising energy costs and problems with the pool plant infrastructure, and it is simply uneconomical to carry on.

“The council will arrange for the building to be taken down and the site cleared to make way for future developments.”

The pool at the seaside venue fell victim to soaring bills last summer. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

The closure of the pool where many Aberdeen youngsters learned to swim or had fun with the wave machines was said to be “temporary” when it was emptied last summer.

It was the first victim of soaring power bills.

The Beach Leisure Centre is described as a “multi-functional venue” with a health suite featuring a sauna and steam room along with a fully equipped gym.

There is also a large sports hall, café and crèche on site.

The adjoining Linx Ice Arena is a separate venue, and won’t be affected.

People ‘let down’ and health will suffer

Labour’s Sandra Macdonald voiced fears about what the closure of the Beach Leisure Centre could mean for locals.

She said: “I represent many people who still use the gym and other facilities, despite the pool closing last year.

“Ending their access to local affordable leisure is bad for their health.

“With no date for when the planned new leisure centre may open, my constituents have been let down today by the SNP.”

The building will soon be reduced to rubble. Image: Kenny Elrick 05/03/2021

Why is Bucksburn pool being axed?

Sport Aberdeen explained that the Bucksburn pool has suffered some “significant issues”, with ageing machinery in need of £400,000 worth of repairs.

The outfit said: “In the current environment that is just not feasible.”

And a planned £13m expansion of Bucksburn Academy will mean the space occupied by the pool is needed to create new classrooms.

Members will still be able to use other pools and gyms across Aberdeen.

Those paying for swimming lessons at Bucksburn will have their direct debit payments frozen from the start of May, while the programme is relocated.

Could more swimming pools be at risk?

Sport Aberdeen offers the “best value gym membership” in the city, along with golf courses, tennis courts and ski slopes.

Mr Robertson viewed the crunch council meeting from the Town House’s public gallery yesterday.

He previously told us the combined annual cost of running its various facilities could more than double from £800,000 to £1.8 million.

Alistair Robertson warned of the impact of the Sport Aberdeen funding cut. Image: Kami Thomson / DC Thomson

And he warned that the plug could be pulled on various city swimming pools unless more was done by the UK Government to help the struggling sector.

In the days before the Sport Aberdeen budget cuts were rubber-stamped, Mr Robertson warned us that the move would mean “all services” would need to be assessed.

The flumes captured in this first-person video will be taken down:

Why did council vote on Sport Aberdeen funding cut?

Announcing the cuts yesterday, the council’s finance convener Alex McLellan acknowledged some were “difficult” to make.

But Mr McLellan stressed that rocketing energy costs, inflation and various other factors had piled pressure on the authority like never before.

And he said each tough decision was made to ensure that “every penny was being spent to the benefit of residents”.

Aberdeen budget: Crime writer Stuart MacBride says closing six libraries ‘impoverishes chunks of city’