Venues named as closure causes more controversy

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ANGUS Council has named the alternative venues for local groups and clubs now that the sports centre has closed.

It is hoped that the new venues will allow school, sports centre and town hall activities to continue as much as possible during the disruption period.

The council will also continue to investigate any additional resources that might enhance these decant arrangements.

Montrose Academy and Montrose Town Hall are set to benefit from upgrades to accommodate the activities which will be housed in these buildings. Work to the Academy will include improvements to flooring, changing rooms and showers, lighting and security and a limited gym will also be installed. The work will continue until March 4 and the school will remain open throughout.

Some facilities at Montrose Town Hall are also being upgraded. The first phase of this work - the renovation of the toilets and changing rooms and the installation of a shower is now completed - and the town hall is now open again.

The upgrading of the reception area has been under way since January 10 and will continue until March 4. Access to the building will be through the side door during this time.

Throughout the sports centre closure, the swimming and fitness programme will continue as normal at Montrose Swimming Pool.

Montrose Academy and the town hall will be used for gymnastics, martial arts, badminton, bowling and other group activities. Other facilities, including Links Park, the Tennis Club and Showcase the Street’s premises will also be used.

Angus Council has also said that some school activities will be provided at the Scott Jubilee Hall.

A spokeswoman said: “The investment at both buildings will provide a long-term benefit for the community.

“Providing facilities will enable the council to retain a significant portion of the £735,000 income that would otherwise have been lost during the 21-month closure.

“The decant arrangements approved by the council will cost an estimated £225,000.”

The town hall will act as the main administrative hub throughout the decant process and will retain the number of the sports centre (01674 676211). Booking for all venues will be administered through this hub and all enquiries or comments regarding the use of these facilities should be via the town hall, which will follow the same opening hours as the sports centre.

The following venues have been named for all sports centre activities: Town Hall - bowling, RPM, gymnastics, coached classes (combat, Zumba, balance), birthday parties, athletics, Montrose Academy classes, badminton; Montrose Academy - Mini Kickers, martial arts, Angus Dance, step, junior and senior badminton, gymnastics, basketball, bowling. fitness suite (CV and weights), GP referral/Phase Four; Showcase the Street, Mill Street - daytime fitness classes, body pump, attack, Zumba, balance, pre-school gymnastics; Brechin Golf and Squash Club - squash; Links Park, Montrose FC - football 5s, 7s and 11s football coaching and some flexibility for indoor hall space; Brechin Leisure Centre - football 5s and 7s and football coaching; Lochside Leisure Centre, Forfar - archery (Saturday 1 to 4pm, Sunday 5 to 8 pm, this is still to be confirmed), Montrose Tennis Club - archery (2 to 5pm on Sundays, this is still to be confirmed), community tennis and school use.

Angus Council have advised that as no payment facilities are available at Brechin Golf and Squash Club and Links Park, payments will have to be made at the Montrose Town Hall hub. To minimise inconvenience to customers pre-paid ten-visit cards will be available for purchase.

The move has not been welcomed by all groups, however, and the organiser of the Montrose Town Hall Bowling Club has branded the reduction of session hours allowed to the club an “insult”.

Bill Wallace said: “We have been informed by the council that there will be no bowling sessions at the Town Hall on Monday and Thursday mornings up until the end of the bowling season even though the club has confirmed bookings for these days.

“They have been taken away from us in favour of Montrose Academy pupils.

“The club is now faced with having a number of bowlers having their season finished six weeks early as they do not play in the leagues - only on weekday mornings.

“Though the club will continue with its sessions on Sunday afternoons, these have also been curtailed due to three Sundays in March becoming unavailable. Once again the club had confirmed bookings for these days.

“While Angus Council have offered alternative accommodation at Montrose Academy this has been rejected by the club due to various problems.

“We feel that the whole affair has been poorly organised and that we have been treated shabbily.”