PLANS to construct an all-weather pitch at Forfar Academy were kick-started last Thursday when Angus councillors agreed a grant of £100,000 from the Forfar Common Good Fund.
Members of the corporate services committee had no hesitation in giving the thumbs up for the funding, which now enables the Forfar Sports Association to move forward with their plans for the facility at Forfar Academy.
Once complete, the pitch will be used for football, rugby, hockey and athletics.
In his report to committee, Ron Ashton, director of Neighbourhood Services, said the sole objective of the Forfar Sports Association is to fund raise and erect an all weather pitch with floodlighting and fencing.
Their current cost estimate is £400,00 for the pitch, including flood lighting, £30,000 for fencing and £70,000 for contingencies (including possible inflation).
The group members are in discussion with both leisure services of the neighbourhood services department and the education department regarding the management and operation of the facility once in place; the ongoing revenue costs for the operation of the facility and ongoing maintenance costs.
Mr Ashton added: “The group intend to seek external funding of £400,000 and are seeking agreement, in principle, for a grant of £100,000 from Forfar Common Good Fund.
“The council’s agreement to this request would demonstrate to other partners that a significant element of the total cost has already been obtained.”
He referred to plans for a second all-weather pitch in the town after Forfar Athletic and Forfar Farmington Football Clubs were allocated a “Proceeds of Crime” award of £300,000 by the Scottish Football Association towards the provision of an all-weather football surface.
He said: “The partnership charged with taking this initiative forward (which includes the council) have indicated that they too may seek Common Good funding for their proposal.
“This development is seen as complimentary to and not in conflict with the Forfar Sports Association proposal.”
He added all four local elected members had been consulted about the request and had indicated their support.
Mr Joseph Mitchell, chairman of the Forfar Sports Association, attended the meeting and afterwards spoke of his delight that the council had awarded the £100,000 grant.
He said: “This is a fantastic start. I would like to thank the council, and particularly the four elected (Forfar) members who have been behind the project right from the start.
“They have been behind it one hundred per cent.
“This gives our fund-raising some credibility and should assist us with our application to Sport Scotland in that we can now claim to have £100,000.”
Mr Mitchell also thanked council officers in the education and leisure and recreation departments who have been assisting the Association with their plans and funding applications.
He continued: “I believe we have a good core behind us and we are keen to get the school parent council involved.
“With this £100,000 we will be able to kick-off more traditional fund-raising activities in the next two to three months.
“We are still probably about £100,000 short.”