Bo'ness leisure centre will close its doors for good on Friday but campaigners vow that fight will go on

Protest, Saturday, March 9, 2024, Bo'ness Recreation Centre
Residents attended public meetings and demonstrations to try to save the 'reccy' -Credit:Martin Brown

It's almost the end of the road for campaigners who have fought long and hard to save Bo'ness Recreation Centre.

The 'reccy' will close its doors for the last time on Friday (May 3) following Falkirk Council 's decision to shut it in January.

Many of the facilities inside the building - including the 25m pool - are already closed and fencing now surrounds what is left.

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A campaign group set up to save the centre, which included local councillors Ann Ritchie and David Aitchison, are bitterly disappointed.

Cllr Ritchie said: "We're deflated, but we're looking now to make sure that what the council is offering is what we need in Bo'ness.

"We tried our best - I've got to thank all of the steering group and Save Bo'ness Reccy members for everything they've done.

"They've all been brilliant - it just wasn't to be. The council wasn't listening to the residents of Bo'ness."

The many groups and clubs that called the centre home are gradually finding new facilities, with Active Forth classes now taking place in Bo'ness Town Hall and martial arts classes in a new town centre venue.

But campaigner Dawn Murray says seeing the centre's facilities closing and the fences going up before final closure is "disrespectful".

"It looks like it's closed already and it's been like this for two months now," she said.

"They had the closure date for the third of May so I would have thought it would have been operational until that date.

"They've treated residents with contempt. It's no wonder that people are angry at them, the way it's played out."

The group says they will continue to challenge the decision and have made complaints to Audit Scotland the public services Ombudsman.

While the building seemed to have won a reprieve in Decembers, as councillors agreed to give it more time, a report in January declared the building was categorised as “life expired and/or serious risk of imminent failure; risk of injury”.

Councillors narrowly voted to close the building after hearing it was in such a poor state of repair it would cost £4 million just to bring it up to scratch.

Members agreed the centre should close and pledged to improve community access to facilities in next-door's Bo'ness Academy.

A report on how that will work is expected to be heard by Falkirk Council in June.

Dawn said: "Our group won't be getting disbanded. Our next fight is to make sure we get the right facilities for the town going forward.

"We weren't able to save Bo'ness Reccy, unfortunately, but the fight continues for the people of Bo'ness and Blackness."

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