THE decision on Mackie Academy Rugby Football Club’s application for a community asset transfer of Forest Park has been deferred pending a site visit by councillors.
Area manager Bruce Stewart introduced the matter saying: ”This is one of the most difficult community asset transfers Aberdeenshire Council has ever had to consider.”
Mr Stewart noted the number of representations received both in objection to and in support of the club’s bid to secure land for two rugby pitches – and he outlined the efforts made by the club to find such land.
Fencing is to be erected around the pitches – Mr Stewart said this was ‘a key issue’ in letters of representation. But, he said, any enclosure of the field would be a matter dealt with in a planning application, a factor the Rugby Club were aware of. And he advised councillors the creation of the Rugby Club’s new home was in essence a two stage process: community asset transfer, then planning application.
Once the application was opened up to discussion, Cllr Wendy Agnew said she did not understand why the planning application had not been submitted first.
Request for site visit
Mearns Cllr Laurie Carnie brought the discussions to a rapid halt by asking for a site visit.
She found support in Mrs Agnew, who said: ”We have new councillors. It is unfair to ask them to determine on quite a big project without visiting the area.”
Cllr Dawn Black said induction visits had taken them past the site. She felt a delay would be unfair on the community, and to those representatives of the Rugby Club and the Save our Park group who were waiting to speak.
But Cllr Sarah Dickonson noted the quasi-judicial nature of the determination.
She said: ”That needs to be taken in possession of the full facts. If we do not all know exactly what we are talking about, then we really need a site visit.”
Feature image – The Rugby Club’s current pitch lease runs out in 2026