Coun­cil re­fuses to give funds to sports project

Plans: Fu­ture of £15mil­lion com­plex in doubt as author­ity re­jects cash bid

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - LOCAL NEWS - BY JOANNE WARNOCK

The fu­ture of a pro­posed £15mil­lion sports cen­tre ex­ten­sion backed by Judy Mur­ray has been placed un­der doubt be­cause coun­cil bosses have re­fused to pro­vide any fund­ing.

The Gar­i­och Sports Trust be­hind the In­verurie Sports De­vel­op­ment Project (ISDP) had been bank­ing on an £8mil­lion cash boost from Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil but last night the author­ity re­vealed it had “sig­nif­i­cant con­cerns” about the “fi­nan­cial as­sump­tions made”.

The lo­cal author­ity said there were no plans for the lo­cal author­ity to make a fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion to­wards the project.

The news came as a blow to the trust which had pro­posed a large-scale ex­ten­sion of the ex­ist­ing Gar­i­och Sports Cen­tre in In­verurie into the neigh­bour­ing Strath­burn Park area of land through an as­set trans­fer.

The plans in­cluded a new home sta­dium for High­land League side In­verurie Lo­cos FC and three in­door ten­nis pitches de­signed by Judy Mur­ray.

Last night a spokes­woman from Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil said the plans de­vel­oped were “ex­cit­ing” and had “nat­u­rally cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of lo­cal peo­ple”.

She added: “The coun­cil ac­knowl­edges the am­bi­tion that the Gar­i­och Sports Trust has for in­vest­ing in sport for the ben­e­fit of the town.

“How­ever, any ma­jor de­vel­op­ment must be sup­ported by a ro­bust busi­ness case, and the coun­cil has ad­vised the Gar­i­och Sports Trust of their sig­nif­i­cant con­cerns about the fi­nan­cial as­sump­tions made – which sug­gest the fund­ing from the coun­cil would be over £8mil­lion, with no in­di­ca­tion of any other ex­ter­nal fun­ders.

“Given the sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion in sports and com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties that the coun­cil is mak­ing in the de­vel­op­ment of the new £54 mil­lion In­verurie Com­mu­nity Cam­pus, and the re­duc­tions in fund­ing be­ing seen by all pub­lic sec­tor agen­cies, it is un­re­al­is­tic to ex­pect Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil to com­mit that level of fund­ing to a pri­vately op­er­ated trust.”

The coun­cil had been in talks with In­verurie Loco FC to pur­chase their ex­ist­ing ground on Har­law Park to build a new HQ for the author­ity, but the Press and Jour­nal can now re­veal this will no longer be go­ing ahead.

Graeme Hay, di­rec­tor of the Gar­i­och Sports Trust, also con­veyed his “ut­ter as­ton­ish­ment” and was shocked to hear there would be no fund­ing, adding: “We are due to meet them again this week and I’ll be ask­ing to find out ex­actly where we stand. “The fact that we had to find out about this from the Press and Jour­nal is as­tound­ing.”

CON­CERNS: An artist’s im­pres­sion of the new Gar­i­och Sports Cen­tre which was dealt a blow to­day af­ter the lo­cal author­ity ex­pressed doubts over the fund­ing al­lo­ca­tion

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