Councillor’s Levelling Up Fund Proposal

By bellmannews / February 3, 2023

A STONEHAVEN councillor wants a bid made to the Government’s Levelling up Fund to further expand and upgrade the Leisure Centre and create a Japanese tearoom styled shelter at Mineralwell Park.

Cllr Wendy Agnew announced her scheme earlier this week on social media, stating she wished to see new facilites at the 30-year-old leisure centre including a large multi-use room and general purpose room along with facilities for indoor tennis/badminton/squash courts, and table tennis along with storage and office space.

Mrs Agnew also wants the indoor pool renovated and solar panels installed on the roof to reduce heating costs of both the indoor swimming pool and existing outdoor pool.

She told The Bellman her proposed improvements would be in addition to those already on the cards following last year’s participatory budgeting process when a £1.4 million upgrade to the Leisure Centre was the winning scheme.

She said: ”That’s a small extension at the front of the building. My bid is using all the land around the Leisure Centre and possibly with two storeys.”

Mrs Agnew said her funding proposal was the only one made so far for Stonehaven.

”If you can get a really decent leisure centre then you can encourage more people into the town as visitors to spend money,” she said.

Andrew Bowie and Wendy Agnew planting a tree
Cllr Agnew would like to see a Japanese styled shelter near the cherry trees she and Andrew Bowie MP helped plant at Mineralwell Park

Recent awards in the North-east

The UK Government announced its £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund in November 2020. as part of that year’s Spending Review. The purpose of the Fund is to invest in “local infrastructure that has a visible impact on people and their communities and will support economic recovery.”

The first round of awards in autumn 2021 saw £1.7bn distributed to 105 projects.

In the second round of funding announced this January, £177 million came north of the border. Aberdeenshire was allocated £20 million to transform Peterhead’s disused Arbuthnot House into a new museum, library and cultural hub, and to modernise and expand the marina at Macduff. Aberdeen City meanwhile gained £20 for a new market.

There will be a third round of funding.

A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said: ”Local councillors have been asked to put forward their own ideas as part of our very early discussions on potential future bids.”

Work due to start at the Leisure Centre this spring

The spokesman added: “Back in February last year, residents in and around Stonehaven took part in a participatory budgeting exercise and had a direct say in where £1.8m of Live Life Aberdeenshire’s capital budget is to be spent.

”The Live Life Aberdeenshire team in collaboration with other colleagues within Aberdeenshire Council have now progressed the option of a £1.4million extension and improvement of Stonehaven Leisure Centre and we anticipate works will begin in May.”