A stay of execution has been given to Forfar’s Lochside Leisure Centre to allow a local businessman to plan for the future of the building.
Angus councillors had been due to discuss the future building, including its possible demolition, but have decided to delay any further action at this time.
At a full Angus Council meeting, councillors were asked to choose from one of five options on the future of the building, which has been at the centre of a long-running saga within the local authority which reached the highest court in Scotland.
Among the options was to demolish the building, hand it over to a group through a Community Asset Transfer (CAT) or leave it as it is.
Councillors were not going to make a final decision on the fate of the building at the meeting on Thursday, but were to vote on an option to be further explored. A final report based on that decision would then have been presented at a future meeting to be voted on.
A scoring system by council officers suggested demolition or a CAT were the best options.
However, after pleading by homebuilder Mark Guild — who lodged a legal case appealing the original decision to tear down the building — to allow him access to the building to draw up plans for a community centre, councillor Braden Davy made an amendment to defer the vote until May 13.
The amendment allows Angus Council to consider the new accountancy procedures in light of a Court of Session decision in 2019 which said it would be wrong to raze the building.
Mr Guild will now be able to access the building to finesse his vision for its future use. He expects this will take between four to eight weeks.
Mr Guild said: “We have a report that says the building is good for at least another 30 years.
“We would hope to provide a facility created by the community, for the community.”
Alastair Wilson, chairman of the Station Park Community Trust, shared Mr Guild’s hopes for the centre.
He said Lochside could be used as a “base for many activities”.
Councillors also discussed the results of an external review into the local authority’s decision making process over Lochside.
Mr Guild raised concerns that consultancy firm Azets, who carried out the review, had not contacted himself or other parties outwith Angus Council.
Azets declared that Angus Council was “not unreasonable” to decide to tear down Lochside in 2019.