Fresh questions have been raised over the efforts being made to find a new tenant for Brechin’s former leisure centre.
Empty since the opening of the town’s £26 million community campus in 2016, the River Street building is one of two old leisure centres still languishing on the books of Angus Council.
But while Forfar’s Lochside is now the subject of a new attempt to bring that long-running saga to a close, Brechin councillor Kenny Braes has said little effort has been made to get some return on the burgh’s old centre.
Council chiefs say it has been used for storage and that a public consultation on its future is on the horizon.
Mr Braes said: “I can’t think that there has been any real effort made to find a tenant for Brechin.
“More than a year ago I raised this and was told that the building had been marketed, but I’ve not been aware of a sign being put up on it or seen it on a website.
“Yet little over a month ago, councillors agreed to advertise Lochside leisure centre in Forfar for lease.
“Very quickly a board was up there and it appeared on Shepherd’s website.
“If Brechin is being advertised then it’s being done in a very covert way.”
“Since I was elected four years ago I have been trying to get something done about this.”
He continued: “It belongs to the Brechin common good fund, which is operating with a six-figure annual deficit and is administered by Angus Council.
“The last rental valuation was, I believe, £30,000 per annum.
“That figure might be quite optimistic these days, but we do know that there has previously been commercial interest in the building.
“That may have been a word of mouth thing since there doesn’t seem to have been any great marketing of it, but it came to nothing.”
A 2019 community asset transfer bid by the Inch Maintenance and Preservation Society (IMPS) was knocked back by councillors due to concerns around the long-term viability of their plan.
There are signs of vandalism and the years of lying empty taking its toll, but the centre remains structurally sound.
Mr Braes added: “Overall I think the building remains in quite good order.
“We have the Brechin flood defences in place which would appear to be working and preventing any problems of that nature.
“But I am really wondering what on earth has been done with this building to try and find a new tenant for it and bring some income back into the common good.
“Every Angus councillor is a trustee of every common good fund in the county.
“We have a legal duty to ensure all common good funds are administered properly.
“I take my responsibilities very seriously and I’ll continue to pursue this issue until it is resolved.”
An Angus Council spokesperson said: “The former leisure centre in Brechin has recently been used for storage.
“Officers will seek elected members’ views on the future of the building and the required public consultation in due course.”