A DECISION to allocate £5 million in funding for the Loch Centre in Tranent, to bring the swimming pool back into use, was welcomed by councillors at Tuesday's budget meeting.

Councillor Colin McGinn (Labour), ward member for Tranent, Wallyford and Macmerry, said that the work which had taken place to secure the money for the refurbishment was welcome.

He said: “For some of us, this has been a long-drawn-out and very stressful process; however, I am delighted to say this administration is committed to this work.”

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And fellow ward councillor Fiona Dugdale (Labour) added: “I am really pleased to see that the Loch Centre refurbishment has been prioritised in this capital plan.

"I know, I really know, this will be welcomed by everyone who uses the sports centre and soft play and misses the swimming.

“We cannot underestimate the value of our sports and recreation facilities in the hearts of our towns.”

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Councillor Lyn Jardine (SNP), leader of the opposition on East Lothian Council, said that her party supported the administration’s capital plan for the year ahead.

She said: “We want to make sure this local authority is able to provide in future for critical provisions which will maximise the wellbeing and health and equality for our communities.

"That is why we are keen to support the inclusion of the funding towards the Loch Centre, in particular, given the higher levels of deprivation in and around that area."

Ward councillor Lee-Anne Menzies (SNP) said: “I commend the administration’s proposals particularly in light of the funding for the Loch Centre.

"Tranent and the surrounding communities have been devastated by the closure, so to hear the money has been allocated and set aside for it is really good.”

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Scottish Greens councillor Shona McIntosh said: “I also welcome this capital budget and am pleased to see the Loch Centre included.

"It is good to see that, when there was a real need there, we were able to support it.”

An East Lothian Council spokesperson said: “As part of the council’s capital budget, elected members have approved a total investment of just over £5 million in the repair and refurbishment of the Loch Centre.

“As a result of this decision, officers can now progress creation of a project plan to phase works over the three years, as the budget becomes available.

“While the project plan has yet to be finalised, year one will be focused on design and enabling works, with the full remediation of the centre to follow in years two and three.

“Officers are looking to prioritise return of the pool as soon as possible.”

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Bill Axon, chief executive of Enjoy Leisure – the arms-length body that operates the centre on behalf of the council – said: “Enjoy are absolutely delighted that East Lothian Council has committed such a huge sum of capital funding, which will revitalise and modernise the Loch Centre and will transform health and wellbeing offering for future generations.

"This is a long-term commitment which will benefit Tranent/Fa’side and East Lothian as a whole.

"It will allow Enjoy to offer high-quality health and fitness opportunities, and a wide range of inspirational and stimulating wellbeing opportunities, attractive programmes and activities on their doorstep.

"This commitment to provide such facilities means there is no better time to get more active with Enjoy Leisure.”