The Lochside Leisure Centre in Forfar may yet be saved from the wrecking ball after a Forfar businessman confirmed he lodged an “unconditional offer” to purchase the building before yesterday’s do or die deadline.
In a further twist, a Forfar-based charity contacted Angus Council with a view to entering into a community asset transfer to ensure the centre has a future.
Donald Stewart, who owns the Royal Hotel in the town, staked his claim yesterday morning.
He said: “I can confirm I lodged an unconditional offer with Angus Council to purchase the Lochside Leisure Centre.
“Given the council value this facility as zero, it is a substantial offer.
“The offer was also made in consideration of the huge investment I have planned for the facility.”
He said he wanted the property to be an asset not just for Forfar but for the people of Angus.
“Angus needs facilities like this, not only for our use, but for the people who visit Forfar and surrounding area and towns,” he said.
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“I have ambitious plans for the centre, plans to invest and to make a facility we can all be proud of, a facility that will not just benefit us but one that can be enjoyed for generations to come.
“I pledge to do everything in my power to stop the wrecking ball getting near it.”
Judith Leslie, manager of Forfar-based charity Angus Care and Repair, also confirmed she had inquired about a community asset transfer after viewing the building.
Following the publication of a structural engineer’s report, she said it would be a “waste” not to put in a note of interest.
The charity is working with members of the Phoenix Gymnastics Club which is in the process of applying for a similar community asset transfer for the former tennis courts next to the centre.
She said: “Our application is for the leisure centre with the view of working with Phoenix Gymnastics and potential investors from other sources.
“We would hope to get it up and running, to have it used as community leisure centre to try to bring other people back into it.”
Shona Forbes, head coach of Phoenix Gymnastics, said the club had secured planning permission for a purpose-built gymnastic hall on the tennis court site.
She said: “Angus Care and Repair are willing to work with us. We have spent the last 13 months working on a community asset transfer for the tennis courts.”
An Angus Council spokesman said: “We can confirm we have received an offer relating to the purchase of the building.
“This offer is now being considered by officers.”