Ayr’s new leisure centre will cost significantly more than the £41million budgeted for, council officers have admitted.

It will not feature a replacement for the Citadel’s main hall either, meaning community and sports organisations will have to look elsewhere for a new home.

The proposals include a 25m 8-lane competition pool with mobile floor, a 20x10m flexible pool, a family fun area with flumes and spectator seating.

It also features space for the likes of spin classes, aerobics, pilates, yoga and martial arts as well as a fitness studio.

Other facilities that will not be replicated include saunas, squash courts and diving boards – with the council stating they are not ‘economically sustainable’.

The ongoing impact on supplies and resources, much of which is attributed to Brexit and Covid, would see an estimated increase of £4m in project costs.

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At the same time, the council says, there will be few opportunities to make savings while developing the centre.

However, there is no move to increase the £41m budget at this stage.

South Ayrshire Council bought Hourstons department store in 2019 with a view to housing the new centre.

They have also ‘provisionally’ spent £3.7m on the Arran Mall from owners Squarestone – which bought both it and Kyle Centre for just £5m.

However, this purchase will only be made if the proposals get planning approval.

In a report to the council’s Leadership Panel, Assistant Director for Place, Kevin Carr, said that a public consultation had gained around 2600 responses.

He states: “Overall, respondents were supportive of the proposals with the majority either agreeing or strongly agreeing that they would meet their needs, encourage them to be more active and encourage them to visit the facility more often.

“Having now considered the responses from both the public consultation and the earlier engagement with stakeholders and users, it is proposed that the accommodation within the new facility will comprise a range of flexible wet facilities which maximises pool use and allows the ‘learn to swim’ programmes to grow as well as encourage activity through leisure, fun and relaxation.

“This will include a 25m 8-lane competition pool with mobile floor; a 20x10m flexible pool with mobile floor; a family fun area with flumes; a wet changing area; and spectator seating.

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“It is also proposed that there will be a range of flexible dry facilities which can cater for multiple activities and community use. This will include spaces which can accommodate a range of activities including spin classes, aerobics, pilates, yoga and martial arts; a fitness studio; and supporting spaces including consultation rooms, reception, café and storage.

“There is an expectation that these elements will provide the correct balance between sport and leisure and could see significant increases in participation at all levels.”

“It is proposed that several of the facilities that are currently provided at the Citadel Leisure Centre will not be replicated in the new facility. It is not proposed to include a main hall within the design, as sports which are traditionally played in this type of arena can be accommodated within our existing sports facilities and our Education Estate.

“This will ensure that these facilities which are based within our communities, are used more effectively to widen participation.

“Other facilities that will not be replicated include saunas, squash courts and diving boards. When reviewed from an operational perspective, it is not felt that these activities are economically sustainable nor form part of the Councils sports/leisure development focus going forward.

“The inclusion of these facilities into the design would have a significant impact on the ability to increase participation levels for dry and swimbased activities/lessons and would not contribute to the flexible approach we are aspiring to.

There will be a pre-application consultation period during which the public will be able to comment  on the designs prior to the submission of a planning application later in the year.

Mr Carr said that the ‘complexity’ of the development meant the financial situation was less flexible.

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He said: ” Based on initial work undertaken by the project team, it is estimated that the additional cost will likely be in the order of around 10 per cent based on current costs.

This will add around £4m to the total project cost at current levels.

“The project will continue to be worked up in line with normal procedures to seek to manage the cost to nearer the current allocated project budget, however it is uncertain at this time that there will be any reduction in construction inflation in the near future that will allow this.

“It should also be noted that, due to the integrated nature of the accommodation schedule and finalised design for which approval is being sought in this paper, it will be almost impossible to vary this to any great extent to seek to reduce costs prior to final approval for the scheme to commence on site.

“It is recognised that this inflation will impact on all projects and will require a review of the capital programme as part of the normal budget setting process for future years.”

Any increase would result in increased debt repayments.