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'Rural Moray in danger of losing out to Elgin'

By SPP Reporter

CLAIMS have been made that the rest of Moray could lose out as leisure services too become centralised in Elgin.

Next week’s full council meeting on Thursday will see a proposal put to councillors to have a consultancy firm review the leisure estate in Moray.

Tim Eagle (Buckie), the leader of the Conservative Group, said: “The paper being presented worries me greatly, especially where it makes comment that it might suggest a reduction of the leisure estate in Moray.

"I will resist in the strongest terms any move to an 'Elgin-centric' model of leisure in Moray or one which denies the rights of our communities to access leisure locally.

“Swimming lessons, fitness classes and gyms are a vital part of our local communities, improving our health and wellbeing.

"When you consider the rural nature of Moray, taking away facilities leaves communities isolated and at risk.

"As the former chair of children’s and young people’s service committee I took a lot of time to move forward, with the other councillors on the leisure review board, a refined approach to leisure.

"That's why we asked Highland Highlife to provide managerial support to Moray Leisure Centre and looked at options to deliver leisure through a more commercial arm’s length external organisation.

"This work remains in progress but we are moving forward.

"Whilst I always think we should be looking for our services to be economical and efficient I am not prepared to compromise local provision especially where we don’t have the transport infrastructure in place to help people access a reduced number of facilities.

“The work we have done over the last year has finally seen the introduction of the Fit Life card to Moray Leisure Centre and a better discussion on the future of sport and leisure in Moray. These are big steps forward.

“The proposal on the leisure centres forms a part of a much larger paper on modernising and improving the council and I urge local people to take the time to look at this document which will challenge many of the essential services we all rely on.”

The papers are available at Moray.gov.uk

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