A sports hall created as part of a multi-million pound leisure centre in Fife needs to be ripped up and replaced just four years after it opened.
The £15.3 million Kirkcaldy Leisure Centre only opened at the end of September 2013, but officials say the sports hall floor has deteriorated to such an extent a replacement is required.
Councillors have lamented an “expensive mistake” in allowing roller hockey, thought to be the main cause of the damage, to be played on the floor.
Rather than agreeing to the Fife Sports and Leisure Trust’s request for £16,000 in area funding towards the total £66,000 replacement cost, Kirkcaldy area committee has opted to remit the matter so all options can be explored.
Andy MacLellan, community projects team manager, said the sports hall attracted more than 27,000 visits in 2015/16 but that number had decreased due to closures for floor repairs.
“Replacing the sports hall floor with a robust surface suitable for sports hall activity, and relocating roller hockey to a facility with a playing surface that can withstand the heavy usage, will reassure existing users of the Kirkcaldy sports hall that it will remain available with minimal disruption,” he said.
Mr MacLellan said roller hockey clubs could relocate to Cowdenbeath Leisure Centre, and work in Kirkcaldy should happen as soon as possible to prevent further short-term closures.
“Otherwise the lifespan of the facility will be jeopardised, potentially resulting in its closure of safety grounds,” he noted.
However, questions have been asked as to how and why the current situation has been allowed to come about.
Councillor Alistair Cameron said: “It was always going to be detrimental to the floor (to allow roller hockey) and it’s only lasted four-and-a-half years which is a short period.
“It’s been an expensive mistake.”
Councillor Judy Hamilton said it was her understanding the original plan was to have a floor which could accommodate roller hockey in the first place.
“Now we’ve been squeezed again, which is not very fair, and going to Cowdenbeath is fine if you’ve got a car and money but if you haven’t then it’s a problem. It’s just very disappointing to see this.”
Mr MacLellan said the sports hall floor initially selected had to be suitable for core sports such as five-a-side football, badminton, basketball, netball and volleyball, as that helped secure cash from sportscotland for the project.
Feasibility studies concluded the flooring did not meet the requirements for roller hockey, he noted.
Four options had been put forward, although most were deemed to be still unsuitable for roller hockey, with the installation of a vinyl floor at a cost of £66,000 said to be the best.
Mr MacLellan estimated any new floor should last “at least 10 years” without roller hockey usage.
Council co-leader David Ross’ motion for the matter to be referred back for further discussion was unanimously supported.