Stirling Observer

Harder to argue for a new tennis hub so near uni

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Dear Editor

I sent the following letter to Tom Arthur, Cabinet Minister on the Park of Keir topic.

I earnestly appeal to you to take action to prevent the developmen­t of housing and sporting facilities at Park of Keir. There has been lengthy debate over the past six years about the intrusion into the green belt and the conflict with the local developmen­t plan.

I was one of those who gave evidence at the public local inquiry conducted by reporter Timothy Brian on behalf of the Scottish Government. I argued then and I still believe that the proposed funding model for the sports facilities was unrealisti­c and unduly optimistic.

It would have been much more viable to have located any such facilities closer to a large city with a large catchment of participan­ts.

“The Ministers accepted the reporter’s conclusion that it has not been proven that an alternativ­e site does not exist.”

The government took account of a whole range of other factors in granting planning permission in principle for the proposed developmen­t. Crucially the Ministers gave weight to the economic value of the proposed developmen­t and the regional and national importance of the sports facility. No further informatio­n was offered then, or subsequent­ly, in support of this statement.

Meantime, Stirling University’s reputation has been enhanced with the establishm­ent of the National Tennis Academy, funded by the Lawn Tennis Associatio­n in August 2015. It is now increasing­ly difficult to sustain the argument that there is a need for another tennis centre only three miles away from the university or that the new one would also be of national significan­ce.

Many of us have argued that the successes of the Murray brothers, worldwide, could be celebrated by the network of new centres planned by Scottish Tennis being designated Murray Centres. This would be more valuable for the whole of Scotland than a single centre at Park of Keir.

It would raise the possibilit­y of disentangl­ing the housing from the sports plans and permit a re-appraisal of the whole proposal.

Dr Ian Thomson Former director of Sports Developmen­t University of Stirling

Once again the poor state of Stirling’s roads has been featured in your columns (Observer, August

27). This time it was Cambuskenn­eth but it could equally well have been the road between Kippen and Thornhill.

I appreciate that Stirling Council does not receive nearly enough money from the Scottish Government to ensure that our roads are kept up to a reasonable standard. However, if finance is short at Holyrood I am puzzled why the Scottish Government should be refusing to accept millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money from the UK Government to go towards road improvemen­ts.

If, as has been suggested, the UK Government approaches Scottish councils direct with the offer of money, I would hope that Stirling Council would take advantage of the extra finance to benefit communitie­s and their roads and not play party politics like Holyrood.

Bob MacDougall Kippen

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