A FORMER Moray businessman is backing Elgin City’s plans to build a potential £1 million sporting facility next to their Borough Briggs football ground.
But City chairman Graham Tatters said the 4G artificial pitch and training ground being proposed by his club can only succeed if Elgin has the ‘will’ to make it happen.
Mr Tatters said the project, which would cost between £600,000 and £1 million, would be financed by a trust run by video games producer Leslie Benzies, who is originally from Moray.
The proposal to build a full-sized, floodlit plastic pitch, smaller five-a-side training area and four dressing rooms at Lesser Borough Briggs can only go ahead if alterations are made to plans for flood defence measures along the banks of the nearby River Lossie.
Mr Tatters says he has been lobbying council officers to try and get permission for the project to go ahead, and is urging the whole of Elgin to get behind it.
“It’s been six years since I first raised this with the council and they kept on blaming the flood alleviation,” he said. “Well, the flood alleviation is not the problem now. It’s the will.
“We can adapt that bunding (proposed flood defence boundaries) to get a pitch in there and we’ve got the opportunity now with a benefactor who’s going to come along and pay for most of it, or indeed all of it.”
The project’s benefactor is Mr Benzies, formerly of Dufftown and Elgin, who has become one of the most sought after computer games producers in the world.
He has set up his own Benzies Foundation, a trust which aims to encourage and facilitate good health and fitness amongst Scottish communities.
Mr Benzies, who is also a major Elgin City shareholder, is understood to be keen to create a sporting facility in his hometown area which would benefit young people across Moray.
Mr Tatters revealed how his foundation sent a representative to identify suitable locations for such a project, and there findings were that an artificial pitch could only be built either in Borough Briggs itself or at Lesser Borough.Full story in the Northern Scot print version