CONCERNS have been raised about the future of Port Glasgow’s historic swimming baths.

Town councillors Chris Curley and Jim MacLeod and Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan fear the facility could be a casualty of the cuts necessary to close a £13m funding gap.

From January, the public will be consulted on ways the local authority can save money and the SNP politicians believe the baths, which date back to 1894, could be included in the cost-cutting measures.

The pool is owned by the council and managed by Inverclyde Leisure (IL).

Among a whole host of money-saving suggestions drawn up by officials at the Municipal Buildings is to slash IL funding by nearly two-thirds, which could mean ‘reduced opening hours, increased charges and potential closure of some facilities’.

Councillor Curley said: “Proposals to reduce leisure funding could raise questions about continued provision of leisure services locally within Port Glasgow, including facilities such as the Port Baths, as well as having a negative effect on people’s health.

“These facilities are used and much valued by the people of Port Glasgow.

“The pool is well used by residents from around Inverclyde, with community groups like the Port Glasgow Otters and the over-55s using the baths on a regular basis.”

The facility opened 123 years ago and Inverclyde’s MP says it is vital that it is protected.

Mr Cowan said: “People are concerned the baths could be part of the cutbacks.

“They are part of the Port’s identity and they’ve been here since the Victorian times and continue to be well used to this day.”

Councillor MacLeod has called on people to show their support for the Bay Street baths to ensure they stay open.

Mr MacLeod said: “It was only 16 years ago the council considered closing the baths.

“At the time, I was involved with others in campaigning to get our swimming pool reopened.

“Thankfully, campaigners won the day and after the council received funding from sportscotland the baths were reopened two years later.

“Once the public consultation begins in January I would urge all Inverclyde residents to take part.”

A spokesman for IL said: “At this stage we are unaware of the impact on Inverclyde Council’s future proposed budget savings that may affect any facilities and services currently operated by Inverclyde Leisure.”

No comment was available from the council.