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Council accused of “ignoring all the issues” as Caird Park sport centre plans are resubmitted

An artist's impression of the planned sports centre at Caird Park.
An artist's impression of the planned sports centre at Caird Park.

Proposals for a multi-million pound sports centre in Caird Park have been resubmitted to the council’s planning department, following a Scottish Government u-turn.

Long-running plans to build a Regional Performance Centre for Sport — first identified as a requirement for Tayside by Sport Scotland in 2003 — were sent back to the drawing board at the end of 2016, following objections raised by the group Care for Caird and others.

The proposals were withdrawn at the last minute from a development management committee meeting in November 2016 after objectors requested a pre-determination hearing.

The Scottish Government then ordered a full environmental impact assessment be carried out on the Caird Park site in December, with Dundee FC — who were considering using the centre as a training ground — pulling out days later.

In June of this year, the Scottish Government wrote to the council changing their mind, telling the local authority they would not require a full environmental impact assessment.

The council conducted a new ecology survey in May of this year, which advised that no tree removal should be carried out during bird breeding season, between March 1 to August 31.

The report also notes that a check for signs of squirrel life should be conducted 48 hours prior to a tree being felled and that there were no signs of protected species otters and badgers, but given their foraging range it was not inconceivable either species could “move on to the site”.

The new plans for the RPCS include a hub building with 8-court sports hall, changing accommodation, performance suite, sports science suite, admin accommodation, café and conference facilities, a full size indoor 3G football pitch, full size outdoor 3G rugby and football pitch, a grass community football pitch, an upgraded athletics track, indoor athletics training building. an upgraded velodrome, an energy centre and on-site car parking.

Scottish Conservative North East MSP Liam Kerr said: “The Scottish Government seems to be all over the place on this.

“It has been disappointing to see the delays and changes to the project, but the fact remains that a new sport centre is a great opportunity for the people of Dundee and the whole region.

“The Government needs to work with the council constructively to make it happen.”

Amy Paterson, one of the founding members of the Care for Caird group, said: “We feel that the council are still ignoring all the issues that building over an open public green space will have on communities and are avoiding talking about DISC and all the other sports facilities we have in Dundee.

“Rationalisation of other sports facilities in Dundee will be required to aid this new sports centre and therefore communities will lose their local sports groups.

“We feel the council is still trying to push this complex ahead without evidence of us actually needing it, and are once again failing to give the appropriate information out to the public.”

Meanwhile, Councillor Stewart Hunter, who withdrew himself from any part of the decision making process regarding the centre, maintained his stance that he would remove himself from the chamber when the development management committee eventually meet to discuss the proposals.

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