TWO popular leisure sports in Perth are facing the threat of closure with high energy costs cited as a major factor.

Perth Leisure Pool and Dewars Centre could be shut down as a councillor revealed Live Active Leisure proposed “a number of significant cuts”.

The Dewars Centre could shut from July 1 while the pool could close from September 1.

It is understood the proposal was made during a briefing to councillors prior to a meeting last week where they agreed on the 2023/24 budget for Perth and Kinross Council.

Conservative group leader John Duff said: “Live Active Leisure propose a number of significant cuts to services including the closure of Perth Leisure Pool from September 1 this year and the Dewar’s Centre from July 1.

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“We recognise that these facilities are expensive to operate and have proposed funding of £350,000 and £360,000 respectively in order to keep both facilities fully open during 2023/24.”

The Conservative amendment was rejected although the approved SNP budget did commit £150,000 for a council-wide review of leisure and cultural assets across Perth & Kinross.

SNP council leader Grant Laing said: “When it comes to supporting and promoting physical and mental wellbeing, we are maintaining the council’s contribution to our Arm’s-length External Organisations (ALEO) in the next financial year.

“However, the important services delivered through or ALEOs must be affordable and sustainable. As such, this administration is committed to a review of all three organisations to bring forward savings for the financial year 24/25 and beyond.

“I will also be allocating 150,000 to take forward a council-wide review of our leisure and cultural assets, another key strand in our drive to protect and make best use of the assets we have.

“In this challenging climate we must take a different approach and focus on what we can do, not what we can’t – making the most of available budget and make best use of the assets we have.”

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting (LDR) service this week, Cllr Duff said it was his understanding that neither facility would close until the new PH20 building – the now shelved project intended to replace Perth Leisure Pool and Dewars Centre – was built.

Following last Wednesday’s meeting, Live Active Leisure’s chairman David Maclehose, also speaking to LDR said: “We acknowledge and welcome the decision made by Perth and Kinross Council on Wednesday to withdraw the proposed four per cent reduction to the organisation's contract fee and provide £110,000 of additional funding support.

"Whilst this decision will undoubtedly assist the organisation with its financial challenges it unfortunately does not remove them entirely.

"We are also pleased that the replacement for Blairgowrie Recreation Centre will proceed as planned and whilst we are disappointed to see work on PH2O paused we fully understand the difficulties surrounding the council’s capital programme and are encouraged to note that the budget provision of £90 million remains pending a further review.

"Like many organisations we are managing a range of significant pressures including reduced customer income, rising inflation, high energy costs and the impact of long-term public finance constraints.

"The venues that we manage and operate are high demand users of energy and therefore the energy cost increases over the last 18 months alone, have had a big impact financially."