A WEE COUNTY institution will soon be no more as the Alloa Leisure Bowl demolition begins this month.

Work to remove the structure, originally constructed in 1987 before a 1991 expansion, is scheduled to begin on March 27.

It comes three years after the building closed to the public, having served the Clacks community for more than three decades.

The operation is expected to last until mid-summer with the council giving a commitment that site security will be a priority throughout.

Once the building is demolished, the site will be left with an ash or gravel level surface and will be marketed for future development.

Meanwhile, Clackmannanshire Council's plans to build a replacement, a wellbeing hub in Alloa West that will feature a swimming pool and much more, are in the detailed design phase.

It is expected construction work on the hub will begin towards the end of 2024 with a completion date two years later.

As reported previously, an agreement to manage the leisure bowl was originally due to end in 2019 after a 10-year contract period.

In 2019 people mounted a campaign to keep the ageing building open, pointing out that the Wee County's only public swimming pool was under threat along with the other facilities provided.

Over the years, the leisure bowl was home to gyms, a popular indoor bowling rink and a café where many socialised.

It is understood some 80 people were employed with three independent businesses adding around another 10 jobs.

While the facilities received a stay of execution in 2019, officials were already highlighting that the building was coming to the end of its natural lifespan after more than 30 years.

While a short-term solution was found then thanks to some £60,000 of management efficiencies, Covid and rising costs were seen as the final nail in the coffin.

In 2021, the management agreement came to an end and the Wee County's elected representatives heard that due to the cost of modifications to ensure the building is Covid safe, the cost of substantial upgrades that would be required and the ongoing maintenance costs, the agreement no longer represented best value for taxpayers' money.

To bridge the gap in swimming provision while the hub is being designed and built, plans were drawn up for an interim pool at the Marshill car park.

That proposal was terminated last October as costs spiralled amid the cost of living crisis.

In the latest budget just passed, the council has committed to a swimming programme for all P5 pupils, there is a learn to swim programme at Dollar Academy's pool and water confidence sessions take place at Alloa Academy's hydrotherapy pool.