A DIRECTOR at a Howwood curling club has issued a stark warning on the future of the sport ahead of the closure of a major facility in Renfrew.

It has been announced the rink at intu Braehead will shut at the end of the current season in March, displacing more than 700 members.

More than 40 clubs will need to find a new home for next season, which is said to put the future of the sport in Renfrewshire in doubt.

Richard Harding, a director at Greenacres Curling Club, said the Howwood venue will help out “as much as possible” but admits there is not enough capacity to accommodate all of the Braehead clubs.

“The closure is very bad for curling in the west of Scotland,” he told The Gazette.

“There will be a lot of people displaced. rom a business perspective, it’s fine for us but that’s not the point.

"We will be doing everything we can to help them. It's terrible news."

Mr Harding said curling in Scotland is “really struggling” due to rising energy costs.

“This won’t be the last closure of curling facilities in Scotland,” he continued.

“They will go down like a pack of cards. The cost of energy needed is just completely excessive.”

Alan Hannah, chairman of the Braehead Curling Development Group, organised an emergency meeting last night and another one tonight to discuss alternative venues.

“With 700 to 900 members being taken out of intu, for another facility to take up the slack is almost impossible,” he said.

“It is inevitable there will be a loss in curlers."

Among the worst affected players are members of the Braehead Wheelchair Curling Club.

Club secretary Evelyn Reid said: “It presents more of a challenge for our wheelchair curlers, since many depend on public transport to access the rink. Due to no other facilities locally, they will not be able to continue with their sport.”

The closure will only affect the curling rink and not the Braehead Arena ice rink, which is home to the Glasgow Clan ice hockey team.

Peter Beagley, centre director for intu Braehead, said the decision to close the rink was made with “deep regret.”

He added: “We haven’t taken this decision lightly, however with the declining numbers of people involved in the sport, we have had to increasingly subsidise the rink over the past 20 years.

“We have spoken with the clubs impacted and will work closely with them to provide what support we can to find them a new home.”