Highlands & Islands

Complaint in Lewis centre Sunday opening row not upheld

Swimming Image copyright PA
Image caption Leisure centres in Lewis and Harris are closed on Sundays while similar sites in the Western Isles are open

A complaint that councillors rejected calls for Lewis' leisure centre to be open on Sundays because of their religious beliefs has not been upheld.

Families into Sports for Health (FiSH) raised £11,400 to fund a trial opening of the sports centre and swimming pool.

But Western Isles Council - Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - turned down the offer and did not hold the trial.

The Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland considered the complaint from FiSH.

The campaigners, who have support from more than 1,500 families, alleged that seven councillors acted in contravention of their code of conduct.

FiSH claimed that the councillors failed to register their church membership as an interest before taking part in votes on holding the 12-week trial.

Traditionally closed

Last year, the comhairle's policy and resources committee voted nine to two in favour of making a recommendation to the full council that it was "not operationally feasible" for the leisure centre to open on a Sunday.

Councillors at the full council voted 19 to nine, with one abstention, to accept the recommendation.

Leisure centres on Lewis and neighbouring Harris have been traditionally closed on Sundays in observance of the Sabbath.

The comhairle has insisted the decision not to open the Lewis site was for "operational reasons" and not a religious one.

Leisure centres in other parts of the Western Isles run by the comhairle, including on Benbecula, are open on Sundays.

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