Pitches or Park – Councillors to Decide

By Jane Cruickshank / August 22, 2022
View across park to Forest View Centre

MACKIE Academy Rugby Football Club will find out tomorrow (Tuesday) if they are to take ownership of Forest Park for £1 through a Community Asset Transfer, CAT.

At their last meeting before the summer break, councillors on the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee heard the possible CAT being described by area manager Bruce Stewart as: ”One of the most difficult community asset transfers Aberdeenshire Council has ever had to consider.”

They voted to defer their decision pending a site visit.

New home or no home?

The club which has the largest junior section in the North-east has already lost one of its pitches at Redcloak – and the lease on another runs out in 2026.

In a bid to secure a new base for their activities, the FPs looked to Forest Park, an area they used before moving to Redcloak. They want to create two competition standard pitches, a training area, changing rooms, storage, a fitness suite and a clubhouse – for this they need funding that will only be available if they own the land.

The transfer would not include the Hamish Play Park and a perimeter pathway would be provided for dog walkers and others.

Decision time on Tuesday

While it is clear the Rugby Club enjoy strong support in the community, the bid for a CAT has proved contentious. Of a total of 372 representations received, 167 objected to the proposal while 205 were in
support. In addition, a Save our Park group was formed and submitted a petition with 1165 names objecting to the proposal.

Stonehaven and District Community Council voted against the Forest Park proposals, but charged Aberdeenshire Council with the task of finding the rugby players suitable land – but there is no site identified for this in the Local Development Plan.

Officers have recommended that the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee approves the CAT, when it meets tomorrow morning. This would be subject to planning permission and for the grand sum of £1, which ‘takes into account the development costs and the health and wellbeing benefits that the Club can provide.’

The Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee will meet at Viewmount on Tuesday August 22 at 10.30am. Members of the public may attend the meeting.

The full agenda and associated papers are available online.