COUNCILLORS will take a crucial decision next week on whether to turn over a much-needed community asset to a local trust.

In order for Govanhill Baths to undergo its long-awaited £6.5 million transformation into a health and wellbeing centre, the building must be sold to the Govanhill Baths Building Preservation Trust.

It is a vital next step in a scheme local campaigners have fought for 17 years to see.

The report to next Thursday's Contracts and Property Committee reads: "The closure of the Baths in 2001 and the declaration that the building was surplus was met with very strong local opposition.

"Over time this opposition has matured and channeled much of its effort and activity into making positive contributions within the Govanhill community.

"However the Baths remain talismanic as a a symbol of community pride and purpose as well as serving a practical function across a range of current and proposed activities."

Govanhill Community Baths Trust has worked tirelessly to raise the £6,532,000 needed to reopen the Calder Street venue as a resource for the local community.

The amount is made up of a council grant of £500,000, Big Lottery Fund money of £950,000, Historic Environment Scotland cash of £500,000 and the Heritage Lottery Fund will provide £1.5m.

The final outstanding amount £2.1m forms a Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund bid that has progressed to final stage and will be decided in February 2019.

Next Thursday, the Managing Director of City Property will be asked to negotiate terms and conditions for an off-market sale of the building to Govanhill Baths Building Preservation Trust.

Key funding for the development hinges on the ownership of the building being passed into the hands of the Trust.

The Big Lottery Fund said ownership is a prerequisite for funding so it is vital the building is sold to campaigners.

Govanhill Community Baths Trust has had occupancy of the building since 2010, opening Phase 1 of its refurbishment to the public with swimming returning to Govanhill Baths for the first time since 2001.

Some £2.5m, the money from Big Lottery Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund, would be at risk while other funders might seek additional protection if the property was not owned by the Trust.

If the report is passed by the committee on Thursday, a further report will go to committee with the full terms of the disposal before the Executive Director of Regeneration and the Economy in consultation with the Director of Governance and Solicitor to the Council can conclude the sale to Govanhill Baths Building Preservation Trust.

The building has closed for works to start and should reopen in 2020.