All-weather pitch top of the list

THERE was good news for campaigners busy fund-raising for a synthetic pitch in the town with the announcement that, whilst the funding process had been put on hold, once final plans emerge the all-weather facility would be the first to be developed.

During a question and answer session at the end of the first workshop, a question was raised from the floor about the fund-raising efforts of the Forfar Community Sports Association.

According to council officer Alastair Wilson, the funding application to SportsScotland had been put on hold until clearer details emerged as to where the pitch would be.

However the good news was that, once the project started the all-weather pitch would be at the start of the project which would then free up the playing fields for the development of the school building.

A spokesperson for Angus Council confirmed on Friday the all-weather pitch was already in the capital plan in its own right.

She added: “Where exactly it will be sited, and at what stage it will be developed, will have to be determined as part of the wider community campus project.”

Mr Wilson also confirmed that, once the new sports facilities were built at the new campus, the Lochside Leisure Centre would become “surplus to requirement.”

Among the other questions raised was why Forfar Academy was chosen as the site for the new community campus.

It was pointed out the local authority needed a large area of land, approximately 10 hectares, and there was no other land in Forfar that size which was in the council’s ownership.

The new school would accommodate up to 1,270 pupils and access issues would be addressed.

Commenting on access issues, Gordon Cargill, project manager said: “This is something we are looking at very closely. We are acutely aware of how busy drop off and pick up is in Taylor street; it is far from ideal at the moment. We will try to address the situation and make improvements. We are looking at access from the Kirrie Road side but this is at an early stage. ”

Pedestrian access would, however, still be available from Taylor Street and discussions were already taking place with regard to public transport links to the site.

As for concerns about adult/child interaction at a community campus and safety issues, Mr Cargill pointed out that what was planned for Forfar was not a “new model we are suddenly imposing on Forfar.”

The design of the building would enable good “passive supervision”. It worked at Arbroath High School, where the sports centre is used by school pupils and the public, at Webster’s High School in Kirriemuir, at Montrose High and it is being developed for the new Brechin High School campus, ensuring a safe environment.