Correspondence between South Ayrshire Council and sportscotland appears to show the national sports body wasn’t being kept in the loop about the much changed plans for Ayr Leisure Centre.

Last July, SAC, LA Architects and sportscotland representatives met to discuss the early plans for the new centre on the site of the former Hourstons store.

A document of the meeting shows that a sports hall and fitness studio were at the centre of the plans being discussed.

The report stated: “The lack of studio spaces at the Citadel Leisure Centre impacts on the use of the Sports Hall; activities that could take place in a studio are run in the hall, taking time from hall activities.”

The note also discussed the lack of instructors impacting swimming, diving and fitness classes.

At the time sportscotland was ‘in complete agreement’ with aims and approach of the council, stating its ‘aspiration for the centre is to provide sport at regional level of performance, not elite.’

The national body also offered to give advice on the design of the leisure centre as it progressed, and acknowledged potential issues such as diving being ‘omitted’, suggesting the council liaise directly with Scottish Swimming.

Possible funding was also suggested, should the case be made for the new centre being of regional sporting importance.

The next piece of correspondence, obtained under freedom of information, shows sportscotland seeking more information on the plans in September – a month after the sports hall had been formally jettisoned from the centre plans.

However, the sportscotland official appears unclear about the position.

They wrote: “I was just wondering if there was any update on the progress of the re-development of the Citadel?

“One thing that had popped into my mind was around some of the work to establish how the proposal fits into the existing estate and if there was indeed sufficient capacity to accommodate clubs if the proposed new hall was going to be “less traditional” in its design?”

South Ayrshire Council responded: “Following public consultation, a review of existing estate and in response to incredibly challenging construction market costs, the scheme for the new leisure centre has developed significantly since we last met.”

Consultation responses have now been presented to SAC’s planning department, who will take a minimum of 16 weeks to determine the leisure centre application.

It is anticipated that if approved, work will start on site in Spring.

Councillor Chris Cullen, South Ayrshire’s portfolio holder for economy and culture, said: “I’m delighted that we have reached the next milestone of this ambitious project. With its prime location at the heart of Ayr, the new leisure centre will become a key element in the rejuvenation of the town centre.“It will also address some of the capacity issues we’re experiencing at the Citadel. At present there are around 300 new swim lesson customers on a waiting list due to lack of pool space at the Citadel. This much-needed facility will allow us to increase capacity and meet the current demand in several important areas, such as our Learn 2 Swim programmes and the Summer Holiday Swim Programme.

“One of our aims with this project is to encourage people to become more active - and have fun along the way! The proposals allow us to offer something for everyone, no matter their age, gender, ability or fitness level – a truly exciting prospect for locals and visitors to the area.”