The start of 1978 saw hopes raised again that the long awaited Sports Centre and Swimming pool could be built. However, with a bitter fued evolving that year over the planned entry of Asda, and several blocking attempts by the Co-op, the Glasgow Road redevelopment was thrown off course in 1978 as the discussion raged on about which supermarket was to be dominant in the renovations of the town.
The Swimming pool had been planned from as early as 1973, a long time coming. In January 1978, Blantyre’s three District Councillors each planned to campaign for the pool to be included in Hamilton’s District Council’s 1978 Budget.
At that time in January 78 the site next to John Street had already been earmarked for the centre. The Scottish Environmental Agency had already committed to clear the site of its tenements as part of the £1m injection into Glasgow Road. All that was needed was the cash from the council.
The sports centre plans were inherited from the former Eighth District Council. When it was first touted in 1973, it was to cost £800,000, but by 1978, the costs had already risen to well over one million. In 1977 a petition of 450 Blantyre names was handed into the council about the lack of amenities in Blantyre, a stark reminder that Blantyre needed this leisure complex.
There were several blockers to releasing the cash in 1978. New community centre at Calowrie Avenue was proposed and next to David Livingstone Primary, a brand new Secondary Roman Catholic School was proposed (although this didn’t come to be!).
Like the previous 5 years, 1978 was too much to hope for and the Sports Centre main construction was delayed for inclusion into the following 1979/1980 budget with only putting £126k aside that year. However construction on foundations started in 1978 on the first phase but it would take 3 years before the whole centre got built. Pictured above in 1981, is the eventual construction of the sports centre and pool.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017
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