Latest update
Header image for article 7297

(Above: Rossvail in Camelon - one of the buildings being looked at as part of the report)

Councillors will meet next week to consider an agreement in principle to transfer to the community or close 133 council-owned buildings in order to make savings and reduce the Council's carbon footprint.

The move would also allow the Council to concentrate on improving its schools, invest in care homes, libraries, sports centres and a handful of offices.

Activity that takes place in buildings being disposed of would be relocated to nearby schools and libraries wherever possible, or other community buildings in the local area such as church halls.

Falkirk Council currently faces a £69m budget gap over the next four years and must take urgent steps to avoid running out of money.

In addition, many of the ageing buildings are in a poor condition and require investment to avoid unexpected closures, but the Council does not have the funds to make the improvements. Many of the buildings are also old and highly inefficient and keeping them would prevent the Council from achieving its climate change targets.

To assist the community to take on buildings such as community centres and sports facilities, officers have proposed a £6m fund that could be used to invest in improvements such as roof repairs, boiler replacement and solar panel installation.

Councillors will also be asked to agree in principle that a report be prepared on the closure of four secondary school swimming pools that would reduce energy costs and consumption.

If Elected Members on the Executive Committee, which meets on Tuesday, 6 December, agree the proposal in principle, then communities would be asked for their views on how the buildings could be transferred, and if there are any equality issues that need to be addressed. A final report would then come back to a future Executive for a final decision.

The estate being considered for transfer or closure makes up 15% of the Council’s existing floor space and the move would save more than £3m per year.

The full report and recommendations from the Council’s Strategic Property Review (SPR) can be read online now.

Malcolm Bennie, Director of Place Services, said:

"We estimate the Council would need to invest more than £200m to bring all its current buildings up to satisfactory condition. Sadly, many are expensive to run, in poor condition, under-utilised, not energy efficient nor fit for modern service delivery. We do not have that money at present.


“The Council also needs to find financial and energy savings to meet our budget position and climate change ambitions. This report proposes a way that this can be achieved and asks for permission to engage with communities to get their views on how to deliver that change. The consultation would also enable us to ensure that activity that supports the disadvantaged can continue. It is important to stress that no final decision will be taken until after the consultation in 2023."

Community voice

At the meeting, councillors will be asked to consider establishing the £6m fund to support the transfer of buildings to community ownership through a process called Community Asset Transfer (CAT).

The fund - which would be derived from savings generated by the slimming down of the estate – would also be used to:

  • improve and modernise retained buildings
  • help communities bring buildings identified for CAT up to standard
  • identify opportunities to house several Council services under one roof
  • seek alternative locations and ways to deliver activities currently provided in buildings the community and council do not wish to keep


Within the list of buildings that could be transferred or closed, a sizeable number provide sport and leisure activities.

The report highlights the Council currently spends double the national average on sports and leisure compared to other Councils. This means that in some cases – such as Grangemouth Stadium – each visit costs the Council up to £9.57.

The report goes on to state these costs “can no longer be absorbed, and action is required to reduce our position to or below the national average.” The transfer or closure of these building would affect 200 employees.

Net zero

Approval is also being sought to bring a report to the Education, Children and Young Person Executive on the potential closure of four secondary school swimming pools.

If all the changes were implemented, it is estimated there would be a 26% reduction in carbon emissions.

Councillors are only being asked to agree the proposal in principle to allow the consultation to take place. No final decision will be made by Councillors until 2023 once the results of the consultation are available. You can watch the meeting live from 10 am on Tuesday, 6 December.