‘Keep sports centres open over Christmas’

Bellshill councillor Marina Lyle
Bellshill councillor Marina Lyle

Bellshill councillor Marina Lyle has called on North Lanarkshire Leisure to keep its facilities open during all holiday periods.

NL Leisure shut all sport centres, including Sir Matt Busby Complex, Birkenshaw Sports Barn and Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility, from December 24 to January 3, leaving people to travel to the likes of South Lanarkshire, Glasgow and West Lothian.

However, facilities were open at Easter and well-used too, according to Councillor Lyle.

She said: “Over the Christmas period I received numerous complaints, mainly from parents who couldn’t take their children swimming as all of NL Leisure’s doors were closed.

“We are supposed to be a health-promoting council yet we are allowing facilities like this to be unavailable for 10 days when parents are looking for something to do with their children.

“And it wasn’t just parents, there was a group of nine women who were going to give each other membership to Sir Matt Busby Complex as Christmas presents, but finding it closed they joined a private gym instead.

“Not only are we inconveniencing the residents of North Lanarkshire, we are losing money to other local authorities and the private sector.

“I was in the gym at Ravenscraig on Easter Sunday and it was far busier than it usually is on a Sunday so it proves that people will use the facilities during holiday periods.

“I was pleased that NL Leisure did keep its centres open over the Easter period and I am hoping it will consider doing the same at Christmas.” Councillor Lyle submitted a motion to a full meeting of North Lanarkshire Council, calling on NL Leisure to review its closure of facilities during seasonal and off-peak times.

Councillor Brian Wallace, convener of the new committee which deals with bodies such as NL Leisure, has agreed to raise the matter with management.