Surprise in new pitches proposal

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The chair of the Carnoustie Community Sports Club is “ecstatic” following an unexpected development at a meeting to discuss proposals for new sports provision.

The public consultation was convened in the Carnoustie Leisure Centre on Wednesday night to discuss the initial proposals for a sports hub style development in fields west of Balmachie Road and representatives of the sports clubs concerned, town councillors, community councillors and members of the public were in attendance.

Up for consideration was the proposal for two pitches on a two hectare site opposite Carnoustie High School, along with a whindust carpark for approximately 40 vehicles, extensive planted screening, which had been a suggestion made in a previous survey by nearby homeowners.

Following the meeting, which lasted just over an hour and raised almost as many questions as were answered, chair of the Carnoustie Community Sports Club told the Guide & Gazette: “The club is ecstatic and overwhelmed. It was really a very positive meeting and we’re thankful for the support of our town councillors.

“We would also like to thank Johnny Christie and Carnoustie Rugby Club for their welcome support with this project. Both clubs have pledged that this development will allow other sports such as athletics to have space with the High School.”

The game-changing moment for the meeting and the development as a whole came during discussions of the proposed pitches themselves, with the plan allowing for either two 100 metre x 60 metre football pitches, or the replacement of one pitch with a 120 metre x 70 metre minimum size rugby union pitch.

Johnny Christie, secretary of Carnoustie Rugby Club made the club’s stance clear on the proposal. He said: “The Rugby Club doesn’t believe it needs more provision. We’re keen to keep our home out at the High School and we’re developing really strong links with them. I feel that there is a much greater need for football provision in the town than rugby. For us that is a no-brainer.”

Mr Hope added: “An additional two pitches would make our lives fantastically easier because we can continue to grow there and because we’ve basically run out of pitches.

“There are 10 11-a-side teams in Carnoustie and only five pitches, that’s how welcome these two pitches would be.”

Angus Provost Helen Oswald said: “I think an audit of what’s available in Carnoustie is long overdue and that should be looked at on the whole.”

Councillor Brian Boyd added: “We want to work clever, but within the constraints of what we’re allowed to do.”

One of the major points of discussion for the meeting was the need for drainage, something which council officers had estimated would cost in the region of £70,000.

Councillor Bill Bowles questioned the need for an expensive drainage system and suggested that it was possible to carry out any required drainage work with volunteers. He said: “I don’t think there is a drainage problem there. I’ve been speaking to the farmers and they don’t think there is a drainage problem. I think we could do this as a community effort and get it going and use this money for drainage elsewhere.

“I think £384,000 for that is hugely expensive for what we’re getting.”

However, council officers revealed that a drainage system was included in the proposal after it had been suggested by Sportscotland in order for the pitches to be playable at all times and it was possible that its inclusion, or not, could have an impact on their application for match funding from the organisation.

However Ian Stevens, support manager for Angus Council’s communities department was upbeat about the prospects when their formal application is made. He said: “Communication has been quite good with Sportscotland and they have been looking at this project quite favourably.”

He added: “I think this meeting tonight has been quite positive to be honest and the reason for this meeting was to get a perspective on the proposals and to get a feel for what the public want and there have a couple of interesting things have come out, one thing being the Rugby Club’s statement, obviously.”