THERE'S been a wave of protests over plans to cut the opening hours at Bowhill Swimming Pool.

Jackie Johnstone, 77, of Dundonald, launched a petition signed by more than 200 people after Fife Sports and Leisure Trust's said that from January 4 the facility won't open until 2pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

The ex-miner said: "We use it every Wednesday, me and my four pals, and we're all in our 70s so the swimming is health and recreation for us.

"They keep telling you to try and keep fit and active and then they try and take it away from you.

"Not opening until 2pm is absolutely shocking, that building should be open all the time. I've heard they're trying to cut hours at night too.

"You've got mums and toddlers using it in the morning, they may not be able to use it at 2pm if they have other kids to pick up from school at 3.

"It's not just the pool, the whole building is shut so you can't use the gym either."

The pool, which was built thanks to local miners making contributions from their weekly wage, opened in February 1969 and there were 50th anniversary celebrations earlier this year.

Currently it is open from 10am to 9.30pm during the week and 8am to 1pm at the weekends.

Jackie said: "When you think about the history of that pool, we fought for years to get it and to see them treating it this way is totally unacceptable."

He's been backed by Alex Rowley MSP who said: “Although these proposals have been put on the table by the Fife Sports and Leisure Trust who currently have responsibility for managing the council swimming pools, the cut in hours has come about as a direct result of the cuts the council has made in the trust budget."

He added: "Fife Council bang on about health and wellbeing and talk about strategies for all things but actually their actions do exactly the opposite.

"For all those who use the pool and gym, being denied access in the morning will result in many just not bothering and this is such a tragedy that will have a more detrimental impact on public services in the longer term.

“Fife Council and Fife councillors cannot hide behind the trust. It is their pool, their budget and their responsibility to ensure public access to the swimming pool."

In a letter to Mr Rowley, the trust's chief operating officer, Wendy Watson, said the trust was set up in 2008 to manage and operate leisure facilities on behalf of the council and since then the management fee it receives from the council to deliver those services has shrunk from £6m to £2m.

She added: "The trust has for some time been warning Fife Council of the consequences of continued reductions on its management fee and, that in time, it would have an impact on the delivery of services and customers – that point has now been reached with changes to operating hours to trust facilities across Fife.

"Changes to the opening hours at Bowhill are targeted at times which in the main are outwith the core peak operating periods and safeguard times for community activities for older adults and children, for example health classes and children swimming lessons."

The pool will be discussed at Cardenden Community Council meeting on Thursday and the link to the petition is