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Report brands Huntly as poor relation for sports facilities

By Pat Scott

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HUNTLY has been identified as being poorly provided for in terms of volume spaces for outdoor activities.

A report to the Marr committee by Live Life Aberdeenshire last week detailed pitch and open space provision in an area from Huntly to Banchory and west to Braemar. as part of work to develop an open space strategy.

The report detailed existing provision - 11 full size grass pitches of which three are used for rugby, three smaller sized grass pitches, a full size all weather pitch on a sand-based surface which is described as being at at end of its life, one cricket field, three tennis court and the Nordic Ski Centre

The report stated: "Huntly is poorly provided for in terms of volume of spaces which can be used for outdoor sport. Along with Banchory, it is one of the poorest performing areas in terms of capacity in Aberdeenshire.

"Officers are aware of a number of issues which impact on the network's ability to meet high levels of demand."

Key local issues identified included the poor levels of floodlit synthetic provision for all sports especially football which means there is very little peak season capacity.

The report recognises the ambitions of the rugby club which is looking to expand use of existing grass space but which could bring it into conflict with football groups.

The study found that there is comparatively little provision available and accessible in nearby villages and groups tended to come to Huntly.

The report acknowledges the ambitious plans to develop a community synthetic pitch for football and rugby at Christie Park and the authority's commitment to continue working with community groups to support the replacement all weather pitch by contributing towards the £450,000 estimated cost.

Lack of clarity in the systems for booking facilities such as pavilions which support pitch usage is also highlighted by the report.

The report concludes: "There is capacity for a more diverse range of uses for Huntly Nordic Ski Centre and improved links with similar adventure activities in other parts of Aberdeenshire. "

Potential infrastructure improvements to enhance capacity in Huntly identified include creating one grass pitch as a competitive sports pitch, improve the drainage and quality of existing areas and increase matchplay and training capacity for football and training capacity for rugby.

Investment in the Huntly Nordic and Outdoor Centre to broaden its offering is also identified as desirable.

Going forward the plan is for the creation of an outdoor area forum

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