Banchory community celebrates planning permission for new sports facilities

Councillors and community fundraisers have come together this week to celebrate a major step forward for Banchory as new sports facilities receive planning permission.

The new sports centre at Hill of Banchory will include a six-lane swimming pool which will be suitable for competitions, as well as a training pool, three-court sports hall, fitness room, two squash courts and accompanying changing and café areas.

Councillors, including the three local Banchory councillors, yesterday joined the Banchory Sports Village Trust to celebrate planning permission being approved for the project.

Work on the new centre should start in summer 2017 with the new building expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

The project will cost around £8.5 million and on the whole will be met by Aberdeenshire Council with a £700,000 contribution from Banchory Sports Village Trust after significant fundraising by the community.

A new leaflet has been designed detailing information on the new facilities and next steps, which can be picked up at Banchory Library, the town’s sports centre and at Banchory Academy.

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee, Councillor Alison Evison, said: “The granting of planning permission is a major step forward for what is a very exciting project that will give a real boost to sports groups in Banchory and the surrounding area.

“Local residents will now start to see things happening on the site behind Hill of Banchory Primary School – work should start in the next six months or so.

“The current sports centre on Raemoir Road is being retained to complement this brand new facility and will be used to enhance the PE curriculum for our young people as well as continuing to support well-attended local sports clubs.”

Chair of the Marr Area Committee, Cllr Moira Ingleby, said: “The new sports centre will be a welcome addition and really will be a facility for all.

“Local groups and users have been heavily involved in the development of the plans and the energetic support and fundraising by the community has raised a very impressive amount which will be used to enhance the new centre.

“Congratulations to everyone involved in this project – I look forward to seeing the final building.”

Chairman of Banchory Sports Village Trust, Keith Mair, said: “So far we’ve raised £670,000 and that wouldn’t have happened without the fantastic effort from all the clubs who have been strong supporters of what we’re doing.

“There has been an enormous contribution from the Banchory Ball Committee and on top of the community effort, there have been donations from individuals which have been hugely important in getting us to the total of £670,000 where we currently stand.

“It’s going to be a wonderfully comprehensive facility and the £700,000 the community has raised will enable us to get an enhancement to the standard facilities that would be provided.”