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£12m sports centre plans taking shape

By SPP Reporter

Elgin businessman Sandy Adam and Kathryn Evans, who is managing the sports centre project.
Elgin businessman Sandy Adam and Kathryn Evans, who is managing the sports centre project.

THE MORAY businessman spearheading a new multi-million-pound sport centre says he is delighted to back a project he hopes will inspire current and future generations.

Plans for a new sport centre in Elgin are taking shape, with the final decision over a design expected to be taken in a matter of weeks.

It will then be a case of finalising funding and submitting a planning application, which is scheduled to happen in April.

The ambition is for the centre’s first phase to be open for use as early as February 2018. The centre, which has a projected cost of £10-£12 million, would be located on a 12-acre site on the south side of the town opposite the Linkwood distillery.

Sandy Adam said this week that he is fully committed to the centre, and looks forward to seeing “diggers in the ground” by 2017.

No money will be coming from Moray Council. Instead, funding is being sought from organisations such as Sport Scotland and the governing bodies of various sports. Mr Adam, the chairman of Springfield Properties, is also expecting to pick up a significant portion of the bill himself.

The sports project has gathered pace since first being mentioned a year ago.

Speaking exclusively to The Northern Scot this week, Mr Adam said: “I have been working on this for over a year now, several months before we went public.

“It’s frustrating how long certain things take, but it’s important to get it right before we start building and also to get the feedback from the community who are, at the end of the day, going to be the customers.

“I hope that by building this, I give people the opportunity to achieve their sporting ability and their health and their welfare.”

A number of previous plans to built a new sport centre in Elgin have not come to fruition.

However, Mr Adam said the public can be assured that it will happen this time.

“There’s been a few false starts but just because there have been false starts, it doesn’t mean you cancel the race.

“We want to provide the facilities and coordinate a project and build a building that will inspire.

“I am financially committed to this. What we do, and how big a building we start with, depends on what grants and funding we are able to achieve.”

Mr Adam stressed the importance of making the building self-sustaining, so it can potentially be expanded into a second and third phase.

“It’s very important that it works financially. If it works financially to start with, we will be in a position to expand the facilities.” he added.

Last month, two rival designs for the new building were unveiled during a public consultation.

There is now a third design added to the mix, although the final plans are not yet ready to be unveiled. That is expected to happen next week.

Of the two options already released to the public, option A, by Aberdeen-based architects firm Halliday Munro Fraser, is broadly described as being the more “rural” of the two, with a greater emphasis on blending the centre into the landscape.

Option B is by Watson Batty from Leicestershire and is arguably more sleek in appearance.

However, as both plans were drawn up in response to the same specifications, they include broadly the same things.

Outdoors, each has a full-size 3G artificial pitch which will be used for rugby and cricket, plus a grass pitch on which Moray Rugby Club could play.

Indoors, the 1380m sq main hall would cater for sports such as basketball and netball, and have fold-away “bleacher seating” for up to 500 spectators.

There would be two tennis courts, a “spinning studio” for exercise bikes, a gym and a physiotherapy room, among other facilities. In addition, the centre will have both a kitchen and a dining area, as well as several play areas for children.

The centre’s initial phase will not cater for sports such as swimming or curling, although these could be incorporated in the future.

While it will not have a full-size athletics track, it would include an indoor running lane – up to 50m in length – to cater for activities such as sprint start training.

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