Sports charity volunteers are a step closer to their target of delivering a new Arbroath all-weather pitch after landing a 99-year lease for the land it will be laid on.
The £1-a-year arrangement for the Arbroath sport centre site comes six months after councillors backed the sale of the site.
Complications over the possible loss of control of land at the Arbroath High School campus led to the u-turn.
The state of Arbroath’s only plastic pitch had previously been branded “dangerous”.
Skilz Academy, which also operates successfully in Dundee, said young footballers were being put off using the Arbroath surface because of its condition.
They had hoped to have a new £200,000 3G pitch in place before the end of last year.
Despite winning support from local councillors for their ambitions, the deal has taken much longer than expected.
In June, a special council Covid committee went against an official recommendation and agreed a possible sale of the land.
Angus education chiefs and the Angus Alive leisure trust said they would like to see the ground stay in council ownership.
Policy and resources councillors have now backed the non-CAT (Community Asset Transfer) lease.
Officials say the approach will remove the potential delay of further community consultation.
Floodlight and changing room conditions
Council infrastructure services director Ian Cochrane said discussions with Skilz Academy over the change had been “very positive”.
“We do acknowledge this has taken some time but hopefully with their agreement to this we will be able to support them with their funding bid.”
The new deal also requires Skilz Academy to replace existing floodlights with low energy LED lights.
And the charity must secure funding within five years for a community building adjacent to the pitch.
Councillors also agreed to insert a break clause into the lease after the prospect of future development of the secondary school site was raised by Sidlaws councillor Sheila Hands.
Ms Hands said she would not like to see any future campus expansion affected by the deal for the leased land.