Consultations on leisure and culture services

Consultations on leisure and culture services Image

Public consultations on proposals to cease three services operated by Leisure and Culture Dundee are being launched today.

Members of the public are being encouraged to have their say on the futures of Broughty Castle Museum, Mills Observatory and Caird Park Golf Course.

It comes after Leisure and Culture Dundee (LACD) proposed to stop providing services at each of the facilities amid significant budget pressures, and approval to carry out public consultations was given by city councillors.

The proposals could save approximately £500,000 per year between Leisure and Culture Dundee and Dundee City Council.

Full details of what’s planned, the rationale behind each of the proposals and how to take part can be found on the Council’s Consultation Hub, along with Frequently Asked Questions.

The individual proposals being consulted on are:

  • LACD ceasing to operate Broughty Castle Museum, with options for the future of the property being explored.
  • LACD ceasing to operate Mills Observatory, with options for the future of the property being explored.
  • LACD ceasing to operate Caird Park Golf Course, with options for the future of the facility being explored.

The aims of the consultations being launched today include understanding the impacts that implementing the proposals would have on communities, and particularly any related to people with protected characteristics. 

Feedback will help identify any additional steps that can be taken to mitigate these.

This will inform any Integrated Impact Assessments which would be presented to elected members on Dundee City Council when they are asked to take any final decisions.

In addition, the consultations may identify alternative operators, funding streams or uses for the facilities.

If these aren’t found and the proposals are implemented, it would result in the closure of the observatory, the golf course land becoming open space managed by the Council and the lease for Broughty Castle Museum being terminated and returned to the building owner Historic Environment Scotland.

The three consultations are being run by Dundee City Council in partnership with operators LACD over the next six weeks.

People can take part in any or all of the consultations by filling out online surveys, completing paper copies or taking part in drop-in sessions.

A spokesperson for Dundee City Council said: “Proposing to close services and properties is not something that we do lightly as we understand the attachment that users and communities will have to them.

“At the same time, in the face of severe budget pressures we have a responsibility to focus our shrinking public funds on where they make the biggest difference to all of our citizens.

“Before any final decisions are taken, it is essential that we and Leisure and Culture Dundee understand what implementing these proposals would mean for users and the wider community. 

“This is particularly the case for those who have characteristics protected by law: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. 

“However, it is important to stress that everyone is invited to have their say on the proposals.

“We are committed to working with communities on each of these proposals, understanding that they will have different implications depending on individuals’ circumstances.

“And we want to make sure we have fully explored alternative ways to use the buildings, deliver the services or secure external funding.

“Whether you are a current user of the facilities, a member of the wider community, someone with an idea about the future of a service or anyone else with feedback, we want to hear from you.”

Broughty Castle Museum

The Broughty Castle Museum operates as follows:  

  • Winter Opening Hours: October - March, Tues - Sat 10am - 4pm, Sunday 12.30 - 4pm
  • Summer Opening Hours: April – September, Mon - Sat 10am - 4pm, Sun 12.30 - 4pm

Visitor numbers in 2023-24 were 39,223, down from 43,149 in 2019/20.

Declining visitor numbers and rising costs due to inflation mean that it is financially challenging for the Council and LACD to support the museum. To put this in context, visitor numbers at Broughty Castle have fallen by 9% on pre-pandemic levels. 

The current lease with Historic Environment Scotland comes to an end later this year. Ceasing to operate the museum would contribute £80,000 a year to reducing Leisure and Culture Dundee’s budget shortfall, as well as bringing about a saving in DCC property costs. 

Caird Park Golf Course

Caird Park Golf Course currently operates as follows:

  • Winter: Monday to Sunday – 8.30am - 4pm
  • Summer: Monday to Sunday – 7am - 8pm

As of March 2024, there was an average of 1,188 members during the year, and there were 7,584 (9 holes) and 28,798 (18 holes) rounds played in 2023/24.  Memberships are up 4.7% on the previous year but rounds played on both courses are down 7.5% (9 holes) and 1.6% (18 holes). Declining usage and rising costs due to inflation mean that it is financially challenging for the Council and LACD to operate the course. To put this in context, every single round being played at Caird Park is currently being subsidised by Dundee taxpayers at a cost of £9.10.

The proposal would save £335,000 a year, which equates to almost one-third of Leisure and Culture Dundee’s budget shortfall.

Mills Observatory

Mills Observatory is currently open from October to March for night sky viewings and April to September on programmed weekends for planetarium shows and
family activities. There were 6,654 visitors in 2023/24.

The proposal would contribute £40,000 a year to reducing Leisure and Culture Dundee’s budget shortfall.

Drop-in sessions

Mills Observatory

  • Tuesday, 28 May  from 5pm to 7pm -  Menzieshill Community Library, Dickson Avenue DD2 4TQ
  • Thursday, 6 June from 2pm to 4pm -  Menzieshill Community Library
  • Tuesday, 18 June from 2pm to 4pm - Menzieshill Community Library
  • Thursday, 20 June from 5pm to 7pm - Menzieshill Community Library

Broughty Castle Museum

  • Wednesday, 29 May from 5pm to 7pm - Broughty Ferry Community Library, Queen Street DD5 2HN
  • Thursday, 30 May from 11am to 1pm - Broughty Ferry Community Library
  • Tuesday, 18 June from 5pm to 7pm  - Broughty Ferry Community Library
  • Thursday, 20 June from 10am to 12 noon - Broughty Ferry Community Library

Caird Park Golf Course

  • Thursday, 30 May from 5pm to 7pm - Regional Performance Centre (RPC) Dundee, Mains Loan DD4 9BX
  • Monday, 3 June, 2.30pm to 4.30pm - RPC Dundee
  • Wednesday, 19 June, 10am to 12 noon - RPC Dundee
  • Wednesday, 19 June, 5pm to 7pm - RPC Dundee
     
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