A CAMPAIGNING councillor has called for a new build replacement for Johnstone High ahead of May’s local authority elections.

Independent candidate Andy Doig, who believes he may hold the balance of power following the elections, said he also hoped to get backing for the construction of a new swimming pool in the town’s Ludovic Square.

He told The Gazette: “There are a few challenges here which Johnstone faces as a community and I am reaching out to the main political parties, Labour and SNP, in Johnstone to try and reach a consensus on the way forward.

“In good faith, the current Johnstone Sports Hub was opened but the pandemic has shown that it is struggling to meet the needs of both the school pupils and the swimming public in the town. 

“In addition, Johnstone High will soon be 60 years old, is tired, and needs replaced as its external walls, windows, doors and roof are all classified as ‘poor’.”

The Johnstone North representative said these two issues presented an opportunity to “decouple the existing arrangement to create a new pool elsewhere.”

The Gazette:

He added: “Given that Johnstone is blessed in having two magnificent squares, I think we should seriously consider building a new swimming pool in Ludovic Square. 

“This would complement new investment which I inserted into the recent council budget to renovate the iconic bandstand and look at how to regenerate the Houstoun Square shopping arcade, which links the two squares. This would massively increase footfall in this area.”

SNP councillor Andy Steel, who represents Johnstone South, said the current administration had refurbished St Anthony’s in Spateston and secured the funds to rebuild Thorn Primary.

He added: “If returned to administration, we’ll continue to work through the School Estate Management Plan priorities, which already includes Johnstone High – if any other councillors want to support us in that, they’ll be very welcome.”

Labour councillor John Hood, who also represents Johnstone South, said his party had been committed to replacing the Johnstone High building at the 2017 local elections.

He added: “The building is well past its sell-by date and should be renewed, and we’ve been calling for this for some time now.

“I would also like to see a new swimming pool in Johnstone that the community can use. The old pool in the town centre used to bring in a lot of trade to the local shops.”