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Council pulled up over Brechin turf war

Mark Arbuthnott (left) and George Garden of IMPS with Jill Scott at  Inch Park, Brechin.
Mark Arbuthnott (left) and George Garden of IMPS with Jill Scott at Inch Park, Brechin.

A turf war has broken out between Angus residents and the local authority over the use of a flood-hit artificial pitch.

Brechin’s Common Good fund paid more than £47,000 for an all-weather synthetic pitch and enclosure at the town’s Inch Park in 2010.

This was damaged during Storm Frank in December 2015 when the rushing South Esk burst a nearby wall, and has yet to be repaired.

Confusion has now broken out over whether the pitch will be repaired, and Angus Council is about to pull up the turf while it speaks to local councillors.

The move follows an incident in which four Arbroath men turned up to remove turf for their bowling club.

Resident Mark Arbuthnott, who organises the Inch Maintenance and Preservation Society, intervened but understands there is uncertainty over whether the pitch has a future.

He said: “It is ridiculous to suggest spending tens of thousands of pounds to remove this asset when just a few thousand would see the wall repaired along with the pitch.

“It could then be used in situ by groups in Brechin.

“Ultimately it was purchased with funds from Brechin’s Common Good so we need to see some sort of compensation if it is removed.”

Mr Arbuthnott said questions have been asked over whether any insurance money was paid to the council for repairs to the Inch.

Local campaigner Jill Scott said the state of the pitch is a “disgrace” and wants to know the council’s plans for the area.

“This pitch is a Brechin Common Good asset, and as such legislation must be adhered to. It is not an Angus asset,” she said.

“It is my belief that the pitch should be repaired and retained in the area for the common good of residents of Brechin.”

An Angus Council spokesman said: “We have received a number of requests for clarification about the future of the artificial turf that was damaged in last winter’s floods.

“At present, we are seeking the views of local members before any decisions are taken.

“In the meantime, we will be removing the surface for safe keeping.”

The Scottish Government’s Local Government and Communities Committee is auditing common good properties and funds, and has asked for written submissions from all interested parties by the end of March.

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