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Arbroath community club achieves goal of long-term lease for local pitches

ACSC has secured a long-term lease extension for the Hercules Den facilities.
ACSC has secured a long-term lease extension for the Hercules Den facilities.

Community sports volunteers have secured the future for their base after agreeing a long-term lease with Angus Council.

Arbroath Community Sports Club members had feared their good work over many years might be undone if the authority backed out of a planned 21-year extension to the arrangement for pitches and facilities at Hercules Den in Arbroath.

Policy and resources committee councillors heard an impassioned plea by club secretary Fiona Ritchie in support of the £3,000 a year lease deal continuing beyond June next year.

They were told volunteers clean and maintain the changing rooms and there is a pool of almost 50 coaches and helpers for 11 teams numbering more than 200 players aged from five to 18-years-old.

“The club is going to strength from strength and we now have a waiting list for all our teams,” said Ms Ritchie.

“Grass roots football is vital in the community, and making it a safe and fun place for kids to be.

“The Den is a second home for a lot of those kids.”

She said work to the Arbroath school estate also meant pitches were in short supply for youngsters.

“Inverbrothock is the only school currently with pitches because of the rebuilds,” added Ms Ritchie.

Town Conservative councillor Derek Wann had earlier asked for a decision to be delayed after concerns were raised about pitch availability and cost.

Hercules Den sits within the area of the Arbroath flood protection scheme area. Officials said long-term damage could be caused by overplaying due to the slow draining nature of the pitches but an assurance has been given that the authority’s parks team will work with the club on that issue.

Arbroath SNP councillor Alex King said he was the only councillor who was there at the time the original decision to lease this park was taken and it showed the confidence in the project’s benefit to the community had been justified.

“There is a demand for pitches in the town, but that can’t be completely satisfied within only the Hercules Den area,” he said.

“They are designed to flood in terms of heavy rain and that will not change with the new flood protection scheme coming in. It’s better that bit floods rather than people’s houses.”

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