A north-east MSP is to urge the Scottish Government to intervene and stop the closure of Bucksburn swimming pool.

Tess White will ask local government minister Ben Macpherson what support will be given following the announcement that the pool would shut after Aberdeen City Council cut Sport Aberdeen’s annual budget by £700,000.

Ms White’s move comes amid concerns over the impact the closure of the pool would have on people with additional support needs, children, the elderly and local swimming clubs.

So far, more than 8,000 people have signed a petition to stop its doors from closing, while campaigners gathered outside this week’s SNP leadership hustings in Aberdeen to voice their anger at the council’s decision to slash funding.

Ms White, who met the campaign group to keep the pool open, will make the case that the next closest swimming pool is two buses away and that the facility is the only one of its kind in the city with a shallow-stair entry for people with disabilities.

She told the Press & Journal: “The pool is treasured by the Bucksburn community.

Home pool

“Bucksburn Amateur Swimming has used the facility for more than 25 years as their home pool, while Bucksburn Academy additional-support-needs department use it twice a week.

“No thought has been given to the negative impact closing this much-loved pool would have on the mental and physical health of groups like these who regularly use the facility.

“The prospect of the swimming pool being forced to close its doors is heartbreaking - and we must all rally together to ensure this doesn’t happen.”

Last week, hundreds of people attended a meeting to save the venue while, in a sign of hope for the Bucksburn pool, the Scottish Government stepped in to restore funding for Big Noise Torry, after it was scrapped in the authority’s budget.

£46.6million black hole

Aberdeen councillors had gathered on March 1, to decide how to make ends meet, faced with a £46.6million black hole.

Following the meeting, it emerged that the city’s commercial property and land owners will now face some of the highest tax bills in Scotland after councillors approved a £9million levy on vacant buildings.

Plans to impose a 10% council tax rise were scaled back to 5% as the ruling SNP-Liberal Democrat administration on the council prioritised cost-of-living support in its 2023/24 budget.

There will be over £200million of investment in new schools, but there was a substantial cut to funding for Sport Aberdeen.


And there are fears that listed buildings could be left to decay or even be abandoned after the administration passed radical reforms to business rates in the city.

Up until now, vacant commercial premises which are listed in Scotland have received 100% relief on non-domestic rates, due to the limitations and burden of owning and maintaining such properties. Various other reliefs also apply to empty industrial buildings, shops, offices, warehouses and damaged properties, as well as vacant ground for development.

From April 1t, the Scottish Government will devolve these reliefs to local authorities, but with funding to cover the cost of the support.

Budget papers show that the council’s grant settlement from the Scottish Government includes £15.1million to maintain these reliefs in the year ahead, which is more than the £14.7million required to deliver them.

But despite other local authorities seeking to hold the relief for at least 12 months – including neighbouring Aberdeenshire – the city council will reduce all empty property reliefs to 50% for the first three months, before reducing the support to just 10% thereafter.

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