Since August, an exercise to find an alternative use for the sites has been undertaken and a number of officer recommendations have now been agreed.
Almondvale Parkway, Livingston (formerly Xcite Livingston)
Multiple commercial/private offers were received but there were no offers from community groups and no offers received of any kind that would see the property operate as a swimming pool going forward. No community asset transfer applications were received.
The highest offer received at the closing date was for £850,000 and the site will be sold to a private company called West Coast Estates Limited (WCEL). WCEL operate within the property development and investment sector and have a proven track record of commercial property development, working in Scotland since 1991. WCEL propose to clear the site and develop it to provide a new petrol filling station (to include an ancillary grocery convenience store), jet wash and electric vehicle charging facilities, plus a drive-thru restaurant.
WCEL are private/commercial and any development would be subject to planning consent.
East Main Street, Broxburn (formerly Xcite Broxburn)
The former swimming pool at East Main Street, Broxburn was openly marketed for sale for a period of eight weeks between mid-August and early October 2023. No offers of any kind were received at the closing date, either from commercial developers or from community groups. In order to be seen to have fully exhaust the market, a second closing date was set. Again, no offers of any kind were received at that second closing date, either from commercial developers or from community groups. No community asset transfer applications have been received for this property.
Therefore, Council Executive has agreed that the former swimming pool at East Main Street, Broxburn should be demolished with the cleared site being remarketed for sale as a potential town centre development opportunity.
North Street, Armadale (formerly Xcite Armadale)
The former swimming pool in North Street, Armadale is a common good property and approval was previously given for officers to proceed with mandatory work relating to the proposed disposal of common good property.
Detailed work in this area is ongoing and Council Executive has agreed it is desired that the former Armadale pool should be disposed of and that officers will provide a further report on this matter to a future meeting of the Council Executive at the earliest appropriate opportunity.
When the council sells unused properties, proceeds from the sale help to fund future investment in infrastructure projects such as schools, parks, roads and care services for vulnerable people. The sale of unused assets is therefore an important funding stream that allows us to continue to invest in other services. Without that funding, less money would be available to maintain and improve local services in future.
Leader of West Lothian Council Lawrence Fitzpatrick said:
"I am devastated that we are in this position whereby we are having to look at selling former swimming pool sites. We are all extremely saddened that West Lothian Leisure were unable to continue with their operation.
"For fifteen years and more, local government has been provided with insufficient levels of funding by the Scottish Government and that is combined with increasing costs. More and more of our funding is ring-fenced or directed for national policies and the choices and flexibility afforded to local government to make local decisions is restricted, year after year.
"That's why we're in this position and that's why, after such a prolonged period of financial hardship, we are here today. "We've written to the Scottish Government more than once requesting financial support for this very issue given that, in the Spring budget earlier this year, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced funding of £63 million to support swimming pools remaining open in England. Around £70 million of Barnett consequentials will go to the Scottish Government in 2023/24 and, to date, no funding has been provided by the Scottish Government to specifically support swimming pools in Scotland.
"It is the case that no stone was left unturned to look at alternative options.
"We can't allow empty buildings to sit and deteriorate and finding alternative uses for these sites is a necessary step. All the income raised through the sale of sale unused sites will go towards funding other services in future."
Read the full committee paper