Takeover bid goes to ex­tra time

Hamilton Advertiser - - ON THE BEAT - Leona Greenan

Blan­tyre Soc­cer Academy were dealt a blow last week after plans for their takeover of the for­mer Rowans Hall were halted.

At a meet­ing of South La­nark­shire Coun­cil’s hous­ing and tech­ni­cal re­sources com­mit­tee on Oc­to­ber 31 coun­cil­lors could not agree on the terms of the £1 sale of the hall and sur­round­ing land at Birch Place.

The prop­erty had been ear­marked by the academy as their po­ten­tial new premises back in Au­gust 2017.

Academy chair­man Jimmy Whe­lan was dis­ap­pointed with the hold-up and told the Ad­ver­tiser: “It is with deep re­gret that I had to in­form those within Blan­tyre Soc­cer Academy and in­deed the wider com­mu­nity that our quest to gain a com­mu­nity as­set trans­fer of Rowan Hall has been de­ferred once more for rea­sons out­with our con­trol.

“This is a huge blow to us as we thought we were mov­ing for­ward but yet again the pow­ers that be have put the block­ers on it.

“Bear­ing in mind that this hall has lain dor­mant for the last four years, per­plexed and be­wil­dered is an un­der­state­ment.”

Al­though of­fi­cials were keen to give the move the nod, dur­ing the meet­ing con­cerns were raised by coun­cil­lors that the pro­posal failed to in­clude any safe­guards to en­sure the as­set stays in com­mu­nity use in the long term.

The academy’s pro­posal to re­lo­cate from their cur­rent unit on Calder Street, Blan­tyre, would see them di­ver­sify the range of ser­vices they de­liver by us­ing the fa­cil­ity as a com­mu­nity hub.

Their busi­ness plan iden­ti­fied around £70,000 ex­pen­di­ture on im­me­di­ate re­pairs as well as £50,000 for an ex­ten­sion to the build­ing.

In ad­di­tion, a Cli­mate Chal­lenge Fund ap­pli­ca­tion pre­pared.

If suc­cess­ful that would also see the de­vel­op­ment of a com­mu­nity gar­den and kitchen, a cy­cle shed, drop-in cen­tre and com­puter and cook­ing classes.

The plan had been backed by Coun­cil­lor Maureen Chalmers and SNP MSP Clare Haughey, both of whom were dis­mayed with the out­come of last week’s meet­ing.

The MSP said: “I am deeply dis­ap­pointed that a de­ci­sion has been de­layed at com­mit­tee stage. has been

“Blan­tyre Soc­cer Academy are a tremen­dous lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tion and their plans to take own­er­ship of a di­lap­i­dated build­ing should have full sup­port of elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives of all colours.

“Once trans­ferred, not only will the com­mu­nity gain a great lo­cal as­set. It will also save the coun­cil around £4000 per year on main­te­nance costs.

“This is a win-win sit­u­a­tion for the Blan­tyre com­mu­nity and South La­nark­shire Coun­cil so for me the as­set trans­fer must go ahead with­out un­due de­lay.”

South La­nark­shire Coun­cil’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of hous­ing and tech­ni­cal re­sources Daniel Lowe said: “The com­mit­tee have re­quested ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion in re­spect of the com­mu­nity as­set trans­fer process be­fore reach­ing a de­ci­sion on this mat­ter.”

Halted The academy ear­marked the for­mer Rowans Hall as their new premises. Right: One of the academy’s older team. Below right: The girls’ squads.

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