Angus Council yesterday evening (10 September) took the decision not to appeal the judgment of the Inner House of the Court of Session in the judicial review relating to the former Lochside Leisure Centre, having determined that an appeal would not be in the best interests of the people of Angus.
Angus Council also heard that the case in the Inner House had succeeded only on a legal procedural point, which was not part of the original complaint, and that none of the original grounds of challenge succeeded. There was nothing in the judgment which indicated that the council’s broader strategy to retain the land as part of the park for public use was other than reasonable and desirable.
The appeal won on a majority finding of 2:1, namely that the building had become part of the common good by virtue of it being built on common good land and therefore the council did not have the right to demolish it without public consultation.
Leader of Angus Council, Cllr David Fairweather said, “If we were to appeal this, given the council’s adherence to the principle of obtaining Best Value for the public purse, the financial risk of losing would be too great. To be clear, the council did not bring any legal proceedings in this matter, but, rather, has only sought to defend itself from court actions brought against it by others.
“At this same meeting, we heard of the huge effort, dedication and time that officers have put into dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the costs we now face to pay for it. This case is an unwelcome distraction from keeping people safe, supporting children to stay in full-time school and helping to support those who are struggling with the financial and health impacts of the pandemic. Now we have taken this decision, we can focus on these core purposes.”
Chief Executive Officer, Margo Williamson said, “We fully support the decision of council today which took into account the implications for all Angus common good properties including Lochside Leisure Centre.”
“We have started to investigate acceptable alternative means to manage the impact of the judgement in accounting and financial terms for the Council. A future report will outline this process and the best way to engage the public on the future of the former Lochside Leisure Centre.”