Great leisure centre - but hiccups to sort!

PRAISE continues to pour in for the facilities at the new Montrose Leisure Centre and Pool.

But as with every new building or venture, there are ‘snagging’ issues, and a number have been brought to the attention of the Review.

Fraser and Louise Hoggan e-mailed: “For those of us with young schoolchildren access is restricted to the studio pool, until 4pm Saturday, 3.30pm Sunday. Only two other suitable sessions on a Monday and Friday are available during the week. However, a swimming gala on Saturday (completely unannounced) made sure no access was possible then, and on Sunday, again during the public access time, a private hire had been allowed which curtailed access to the entire pool area until 4.45pm.

“The glowing comments about the new facility are sticking in the throats of those of us who have yet to have access to the pool which seems to be run as a private club with the citizens of Montrose being sidelined at any opportunity.

The Rev. Linda Broadley, writing in her capacity as granny, had to console grandchildren on Sunday.

She told us: “There I was this afternoon with my grandchildren, having studied the programme which said that both pools were open for public swimming, only to find that a private hire had closed both to the public. Surely with such excellent water space, the ‘authorities’ could dictate that only one pool is closed for private hire at a time, and the public could use the other one - especially since they are both designated for public use on a Sunday afternoon.”

Darren Caldow has a complaint about a cancelled football booking.

Darren says: “I booked the hall for five-a-side football on Tuesday, November 20, for November 27 but today (Monday 26th), received a voicemail saying that due to the Montrose Academy needing the hall they have to cancel my booking.

“At the time of booking I asked if we would be affected by the Academy as the time required was 1 to 2pm and was told no.”

Darren continued: “If an area is booked by a member of the public before the school requests the area the school - which has two halls - should be asked to find other arrangements. I never once heard that the sports centre was for the school only.”

An Angus Council spokeswoman this week said there have been problems with bookings and apologised for inconvenience caused to customers

She said: “The new facilities are in great demand for public, private and school use and we have had a few teething issues with bookings arrangements. Advance notice of any changes in the timetable will in future be issued earlier, on-site, in the press and on the Angus Leisure Facebook page, where customers can get up to date information about events, classes and any changes to timetables.”

And retired Angus councillor Sandy West was incensed by our front page story last week when we quoted from a press release from Councillor Mark Salmond, in which he explained how he had played a “major role in delivering this legacy project for Montrose”.

Councillor Salmond went on to claim that the SNP, then in opposition, had opposed the project.

“Far from it!”, exclaimed Mr West.

He explained how he was a regular user of the old pool, but that it was frequently closed for maintenance, and he recognised that there were clearly major problems.

Rather than immediately demand a new pool for Montrose, he and fellow SNP councillor Paul Valentine set the ball rolling for a review of the condition of all the pools in Angus, and from this it became clear that replacing the Montrose pool was indeed the priority.

“We did not oppose the building of a new pool in Montrose,” Mr West emphasised. “What we did oppose was the lack of provision of diving facilities.”

He was aware that the local diving club would no longer be able to function, and that potential talent in the area would be lost.

“That was our complaint,” Mr West concluded. “We were 100 per cent in favour of a new pool.”

l A reader wondered who had been the last person to use the high diving board in the old pool, before vandalism forced its premature closure. We are told that possible claimants to that title are Stephen Johansen (40), and his son Gavin (9), who were last out of the water on the Saturday night.