Cinema or houses on old swimming pool site?

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A proposed housing estate on the former Montrose swimming pool site is challenging the project for the building to be converted into a cinema.

The new swimming pool opened at the Montrose Sports Centre in November 2012, and the old pool, on The Mall, closed in October last year. It is currently disused.

The Montrose Playhouse Project was set up in February to try renovate the building into a cinema.

Recently a housing developer has contacted the Review to tell of their plans to build 32 “affordable” houses on the sites of the former pool and railway cuttings, off Rosehill Road.

This would involve demolishing the redundant swimming pool and the derelict railway line to be filled in prior houses being built.

The developer said: “The cost for the plot for one affordable in this area is £67,000 and the cost of demolishing the old swimming pool would be around £350,000, so the council would be getting more houses for a fraction of the price.

“The beauty of this site is that it is fully serviced - it already has sewerage, gas, electricity and water.”

Public opinion has strongly been in favour of a cinema with nearly 3,000 people liking the Playhouse Cinema Project Facebook page.

David Paton, project leader for the Montrose 
Playhouse Project, said: “We were a bit surprised that someone was considering buying and knocking the building down. It’s a landmark building that’s been in the town for about 60 years and has functioned well over that time. The costs for demolition would be expensive and there is asbestos and potential ground contamination from the chlorine.”

He added: “This will all come down to money, we are just a small voluntary group applying for start up funding at present, but we have had a few meetings with the council.

Mr Paton concluded: “We had hoped that no one would be interested in the building, it would be perfect for a cinema, but there are other potential sites in Montrose for a cinema.”

The former swimming pool building is still owned by Angus Council. A council spokesperson said: “The old swimming pool in Montrose is currently for sale on the open market.

“Whilst the council has received some informal interest from several organisations, including for potential community use, no formal offer has yet been received and there are currently no planning applications for the site under consideration.”