Banchory sports facility plan agreed

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Aberdeenshire Council has agreed to invest in a multi-million pound community sports facility at Hill of Banchory.

Councillors agreed to include the project in the council’s Capital Plan at a meeting of the full council today (Thursday, 17 January).

The decision has been welcomed by project partners North Banchory Company

(NBC) and Bandswim.

The project will comprise the creation of a sports facility, based on a six-lane swimming pool with extended dry sports facilities, replacing the existing pool and sports hall at Banchory Academy.

Building work on the project is expected to begin in 2016.

Councillor for Banchory and Mid-Deeside, Jill Webster said: “Today’s decision is fantastic news for residents of Banchory and we are delighted to be working in partnership with North Banchory Company and Bandswim to bring enhanced sports facilities to the town. This has been long awaited and this decision will, at long last, enable the project to be delivered.”

Fellow Banchory and Mid-Deeside councillor, Karen Clark said: “I am delighted that the council has decided to commit funding to the project.

This has been a community aspiration for many years and there is huge demand for this project so it is great to see it move forward.”

Banchory and Mid-Deeside councillor, Linda Clark said: “I’m really pleased to welcome this project for the Banchory and district communities as they have continued to believe in it and support the concept over a very long time. The project is something they so richly deserve.”

Councillors at today’s meeting welcomed the opportunity to support the plans which are the result of a long-running campaign by local communities around Banchory for a state-of-the-art sports facility and swimming pool.

Local people have worked hard to raise substantial levels of funding and the council has been working closely with local community groups, businesses and the land owner to help make their plans a reality.

North Banchory Company’s Managing Director, Alexander Burnett, commented:

“After so much work in getting this project to fruition, we thoroughly welcome the council’s decision. North Banchory Company, which is part of Leys Estate, has invested much in the Hill of Banchory over the years and the recently commissioned biomass district heating system was designed specifically to include the swimming pool and centre. The news today, that these facilities will progress, supports both renewable energy targets and the rural economy in delivering a sustainable and healthy future for Banchory.”

Henry Allen, Bandswim’s Chairman of Trustees commented: “This is a very exciting breakthrough. For the last two decades the communities around Banchory have fundraised and campaigned tirelessly to achieve a facility centred around a properly sized and accessible swimming pool.

As part of this public/private partnership, Bandswim, the trustees of over £200,000 in cash and pledges, are committed to raising additional funds to ensure that a top quality facility is built. Therefore we are now very keen to find new people to provide fresh blood and maintain momentum to see this project through to completion.”

A review of the Lifelong Learning and Leisure estate across Aberdeenshire is due to take place later this year, but councillors heard that this should not cause any delays for the Hill of Banchory project.