Moray Leisure Centre get early payment to avert closure threat

Moray Leisure Centre – bail out

MORAY COUNCILLORS STEPPED IN to save the Moray Leisure Centre yesterday – in the centre of a crises for the company who are understood to have suspended manager Steve Ash and brought in consultants.

A closed-door meeting of the Council on Wednesday discussed the crisis facing the company, a charity that runs the centre as a hand-off company with the building itself still owned by Moray Council.

Moray Council currently provide funding of £698,000 each year for the centre while three Councillors sit on its board. That position was, however, due to end next summer at the same time as the lease on the building itself.

To save the centre from immediate closure under its current financial crisis, Councillors agreed to pay their monthly contribution of £58,000 early. It is reported that Councillors insisted that an outside body should be brought in to provide ideas on saving the centre from collapse – that is being reported to be High-Life Highland.

Last night a Moray Council spokesman said: “Councillors took steps to ensure Moray Leisure Centre can continue in operation while a recovery plan is developed. The board had requested that the monthly instalment of the annual grant be brought forward in the month to assist with cashflow.

“This will mean the leisure centre should be able to continue operations for a set period while a recovery plan is devised. The meeting was held in private as commercial details and staffing matters were part of the discussion.”

Last night board members insisted that the agreement to pay this month early had averted any immediate closure of the centre, adding that they had a recovery plan that was being fully supported by Moray Council.

Consultants are expected to arrive in January while “a lot of work is being done on the finances”.