The facility is leased by West Lothian Leisure (WLL) but has been closed since June 2021 after it was deemed surplus to requirements. WLL will continue to manage the mothballed facility until their lease ends in March. The council has no need for the facility and declared it surplus to requirements earlier this year, meaning the property was openly advertised for purchase or lease.
A number of submissions were received including interest for commercial development and from St John's Church, who presented proposals that would see the Low Port Centre used for a range of church and community activities under a potential asset transfer project. The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 gives community bodies the right to make requests for public land or buildings they feel they could make better use of. They can request ownership, lease or other rights as they wish.
There were no other expressions of interest from the community.
A report to the Council Executive today set out that the submission from St John's Church will be determined by the council's Asset Transfer Committee in accordance approved policy and determined by that committee in line with statutory requirements.
The late James Cumming was a renowned Scottish artist and the Low Port Centre houses one of his last and most recognised works. The work is currently being assessed by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and is currently being considered by them as to whether it should be afforded listed (protected) status.
In response to a recent enquiry from the late artist's daughter, the council has provided assurances that the mural will remain in situ at the Low Port Centre whist HES carry out their assessment. Officers will also seek to include a conservation burden in the conditions of any future sale that would require the mural to be protected by the building's future owners.