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Ellon Wheel Park Group successful in asset transfer request

By Kyle Ritchie

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An asset transfer request for the lease of Lower Gordon Park in Ellon to develop a wheeled sports facility has been approved by councillors.

The Formartine area committee assessed the application from the Ellon Wheel Park Group (EWPG) at its meeting on Tuesday.

EWPG's ambition is to build a cycle track, pump track and skate park for the community on the land.

The asset transfer request divided the town with Aberdeenshire Council receiving 104 representations of support and 113 objections.

In the report that went before councillors from the Formartine area manager Elaine Brown it recommended that it be approved.

A concept illustration of how the Ellon Wheel Park will look.
A concept illustration of how the Ellon Wheel Park will look.

It outlined: "On March 31, 2022, a valid Asset Transfer Request (ATR) received from EWPG seeking a 25-year lease of Lower Gordon Park for £1 per annum (less than market value) was considered by the Formartine Asset Transfer Steering Group, who are a multi-disciplinary group of council officers chaired by the Area Manager.

"During the Steering Group’s formal assessment of EWPG’s ATR on April 21, 2022, it was agreed that the Business Plan and related documents were a sound basis for the management of the asset and agreed to recommend approval of the ATR, subject to several suspensive conditions."

EWPG's proposal to build the wheeled sports facility has a number of aims which include expanding the sporting activities on offer within the town; supporting the advancement of competitive sporting events and achievements locally; and enhancing the recreational offering in Gordon Park.

Furthermore it was to support the opportunity for community capacity building; attract footfall to the town’s shops, cafés and other amenities; and improve the health of people using the facility;

EWPG chairman Colin Allanach addressed councillors during the meeting.

He said: "There are major funds available through Sport Scotland to build good quality facilities which will be designed with users in mind and be of a quality that lasts for many years.

"This will be a facility that the community can be proud of and used by young and old, beginners and experts, locals and visitors.

"This is an opportunity that won't come up again for a long time and we need to grasp this.

"Ellon has a very strong cycle club, which has a youth membership of around 60. A link between the club and the facility will mean that regular income can be generated through coached sessions at the wheel park and this will help with the upkeep, maintenance and developement.

"The central location of the lower section of Gordon Park makes it ideal for local people to get to without having to use their cars.

"This is about diversifying what Ellon and the surrounding area can offer, putting Ellon on the map as a destination town full of vitality in which to come and spend time and money and where people want to live and bring up their families."

Councillor Isobel Davidson submitted a motion that the asset transfer request be approved.

She said: "I would like to formally put forward a motion that we accept this asset transfer for the reasons given in the report and that there's not any reasonable grounds for refusal."

She was seconded by Councillor Louise McAllister who said: "Based on the information before us, both through the paper and during our discussion that we have had, I'm content with everything I've heard."

The project was recently successful in receiving a grant of £243,790 from the Scottish Government Place Based Investment Programme, which is designed to support coherent investment decisions that respond to local community priorities for their places.

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