New Falkirk leisure centre costing £35 million could replace ageing facilities

The Mariner Centre, Camelon, Falkirk
-Credit: (Image: Google Maps)

A new £35 million leisure centre could be built in Falkirk to replace ageing facilities, if councillors agree.

The new sport, health and wellbeing centre would replace the Mariner Centre in Camelon and Grangemouth Sports Centre, which alone currently cost Falkirk Council £2 million to run every year.

Although the design has not been finalised, the proposed new centre would include a swimming pool, a training pool, a gym with fitness rooms for classes, an active play hub and a cafe.

Read more: First privately built schools in Scotland to return to council ownership

A meeting of Falkirk Council's executive will hear a report that says the new centre would be expected to break even or even turn a profit.

The report also stresses that every effort will be make to ensure that both the Mariner and Grangemouth centres will remain open until any replacement is ready.

The report says Falkirk Council spent £4.7 million on leisure facilities in 2022/23 and without "significant changes" this deficit will continue to grow.

The venues have been particularly affected by the rapidly rising cost of energy, which have risen by more than 60 per cent in recent years.

According to the report, replacing the older centres with one new facility would save £2 million a year, which would help to pay for the borrowing costs.

Research suggests that the new centre is expected to attract the same number of visitors.

The report going to councillors says that while the Mariner Centre and Grangemouth Sports Complex are among the most used facilities owned by the Council, they are "underperforming compared to similar venues across Scotland", with lower levels of customer satisfaction.

The proposals have been developed by a cross-party panel of councillors, as part of a review of the council's sports and leisure facilities.

That included looking at council-owned leisure facilities in East Dunbartonshire, Stirling and West Lothian.

If agreed, the new facility would become the hub at the centre of a 'hub and spoke model', which means there will also be smaller facilities throughout the district, in Grangemouth, Stenhousemuir, Bo’ness, Braes and Denny.

These will be the subject of a separate report to the executive.

Malcolm Bennie, Falkirk Council’s director of Place Services, said the plans developed by the councillors offer "a bold new approach to provide top-tier sport and leisure facilities for our communities".

He said: “This exciting transition to modern, accessible and energy-efficient facilities could support healthier lifestyles and foster stronger community connections.

"This clear overhaul of the existing approach could set Falkirk Council on the right road for the delivery of these services for the next 15-20 years."

For more Falkirk stories, sign up to our newsletter here.