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Residents urged to not dive in at the deep end in row over Aviemore swimming facilities

Carole Long of the Save Our Swimming campaign in Aviemore photographed ahead of last nights meeting while also in the photograph are Councillor Bill Lobban and MP Drew Hendry.
Carole Long of the Save Our Swimming campaign in Aviemore photographed ahead of last nights meeting while also in the photograph are Councillor Bill Lobban and MP Drew Hendry.

Aviemore residents told yesterday how they now face a 60 mile trip to take their children to a swimming pool after public access to facilities was scrapped earlier this year.

Talks between High Life Highland and the Macdonald Resort which owns the pool broke down at the end of August over a dispute over the terms of a new contract.

Locals now fear they could lose access to the hotel site on a permanent basis.

Frustrated members of the community met with politicians at the British Legion last night to discuss how to challenge the decision.

The nearest swimming pool is 15 miles away at the Craig MacLean Centre in Grantown on Spey.

But some residents at the meeting told how they can be forced to travel a 60 mile round trip to access swimming facilities in Inverness due to capacity issues at the closest pool.

More than 1,000 people have now signed a petition urging the council to keep the service for locals.

Carole Long, of the Save Our Swimming Campaign, said: “The whole thing is absolutely ridiculous. The pool is sitting empty whilst the building is heated, whilst a lifeguard is on duty and whilst a secretary is working away.

“It is bad for kids. Bad for those with disabilities and bad for those older folk who want to keep fit.

“I hope Macdonald’s agree to let the community back in to use the pool and I hope the alienation that is starting to develop stops because the resort is part of the community.”

Councillor Bill Lobban said it was “very disappointing” that the local community no longer had access.

He said: “I think it is now about trying to get the resort back around the table with the Highland Council and find a suitable agreement for all parties.

“The community is trying hard to engage positively with all parties and I think that is the best way forward.”

Local MP Drew Hendry told residents he hoped to meet with both the Macdonald Resort and the Highland Council to raise the concerns of the community.

Mr Hendry said: “I think it was a really positive meeting.

“Local people are very clear of the benefits to the community and also to the positive aspects a positive relationship can also have for Macdonald Resorts.

“There is a very strong argument for the community to have access to the pool and I hope this situation is resolved for all parties involved, including both the community and the resort.”

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