Plans for sports hub in Forfar

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NEWS that steps are being taken to drive forward plans for an all-weather pitch at Forfar Academy have sparked discussion about future provision for sports facilities in the town.

It has emerged Angus Council’s vision is to create a campus–based sports hub, similar to that being developed in Montrose, with the probable site being at the academy.

As the focus of attention in Angus over the last few months has been the new swimming pool in Montrose, the subject of a replacement pool for Forfar was again raised at this month’s meeting of Forfar Community Council.

Following a call by Angus Independent Councillor Bob Spink for the matter to be placed on the council’s financial plan, Mrs Isobel Ross took the opportunity during ‘chairman’s comments’ to ask “when will Forfar get a new pool?”

She said everyone was asking the question, particularly in light of the new pool which is now being built in Montrose.

She said: “The Montrose pool won’t benefit the people of Forfar. Once again Forfar has lost out. I want to know when a pool for Forfar will be on the agenda. The one we have is over 100 years old.

“I would ask anyone to go along to the changing rooms on a Friday night when the swimming lessons are on - I think they would be horrified. It is absolute mayhem in the changing rooms.

“Some of the lockers don’t work, the cubicle covers are hanging off, it beggars belief.”

Angus councillor Glennis Middleton stressed the money being spent in Montrose is not purely for a swimming pool but for a pool, improvements to the sports centre, a reception and cafe area.

She said: “It is a mistake for anyone to think that between £8 and £10 million is being spent on a swimming pool.”

However, Mrs Ross felt Forfar was the loser in this instance, stating the leisure centre in Forfar had also outgrown its space.

“I would like to know when we are going to get a new pool in Forfar because the people of Forfar deserve it, having stuck with the pool, which was a gift to the town, over 100 years ago.”

Her comments followed the revelations last week that Forfar could end up with not one, but two all-weather pitch facilities - one at the Market Muir for Forfar Farmington and Forfar Athletic Football Club, and one being driven forward by a new trust set up to provide a multi-sports facility at Forfar Academy.

This in turn has fuelled speculation about future sports developments in the town.

When asked to comment on possible plans, Angus Council vice-convener of Neighbourhood Services, councillor Colin Brown said: “Angus Council’s long-term aim is to provide a campus–based sports hub in Forfar, similar to the sports and swimming pool leisure hub currently being developed at Montrose.

“We are aware that both Lochside Leisure Centre and Forfar Swimming Pool will ultimately require to be replaced at some stage, although they will of course continue to be maintained and repaired meantime for the benefit of customers.

“There are currently no identified finances available to provide such a sports hub in Forfar. However, the council will continue to research options and plan as to how best to meet these longer-term aims.”