Council refuses to give funds to sports project
Plans: Future of £15million complex in doubt as authority rejects cash bid
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