South Scotland MSP Martin Whitfield has called for funding from the Scottish Government to facilitate the repair of the Loch Centre’s swimming pool.

East Lothian Council faces a £4.4 million bill to fix the Tranent swimming pool, which has been closed since January due to faults with its roof.

READ MORE: Martin Whitfield MSP column: Funding must be increased

Mr Whitfield raised the subject during General Questions in the Scottish Parliament.

The South Scotland MSP highlighted the importance of community facilities for participating in sport and physical activity, like the Loch Centre, and asked the Scottish Government about the need for national political and practical support for funding and maintaining such facilities.

Mr Whitfield said: “The International Society for Physical Activity and Health’s sixth priority in its publication Eight Investments That Work for Physical Activity states that sport and recreation opportunities must target audiences where the need may be greatest or participation rates may be lower.

READ MORE: Tranent: ‘Long-term solution’ sought for Loch Centre

“The Scottish Government agrees, and the Loch Centre in Tranent does exactly that.

“Does the minister agree that, although it is right and proper that local authorities should decide how local funding is distributed to their communities and, in turn, how to provide and maintain community and sporting facilities, they must have the political and practical support from the Government to meet that need properly?”

In his reply to Mr Whitfield’s question, Joe FitzPatrick MSP, minister for local government empowerment and planning, said that Mr Whitfield made a good point and that the Scottish Government understood the challenges.

He said: “It is really important that we all work together, and local authorities, the Scottish Government and sportscotland are working hand in hand.

“We absolutely understand the particular challenges that we face with the estate, which is why sportscotland has been tasked with looking at facilities across Scotland and how they can be sustainable in the long term.”

Speaking after the question, Mr Whitfield said: “I know that communities in and around Tranent feel very strongly about the need to ensure the swimming pool at the Loch Centre reopens and has a sustainable future.

“It is a vitally important resource for the health and wellbeing of local people, and we must explore every avenue to find the funding to make the repairs that are required.”