Plans for a £500,000 rugby and cricket clubhouse in Montrose have been passed despite claims rugby players have deliberately sidelined the town’s cricketers.
Montrose and District Cricket and Rugby Club announced ambitious plans in May for a new clubhouse to replace its 1970s cricket pavilion on Whinfield Road.
Volunteers have already raised around £100,000 for the new base, which will include state-of-the-art facilities to accommodate an explosion in the number of young rugby players in the Angus town.
However, the club’s cricket playing members are unhappy with the proposals, claiming they had been told the club would no longer offer them membership.
They also objected to the new layout of the cricket oval, arguing the club’s “big hitters” would probably strike neighbouring gardens and the new clubhouse.
They argued the application should be put on hold as the club, which merged cricket and rugby playing sections around 26 years ago, was likely to split again in the near future.
Councillors argued it was not their role to “get involved in sporting club politics” and approved the ambitious plans after agreeing the current pavilion was “approaching the end of its useful life.”
Elected members were told the club currently has 220 rugby members and 24 cricket members.
Club president Duncan Campbell said: “This is great news and we are absolutely delighted. We are very excited about the potential for this project.”
He told councillors there was no intention to remove the cricket section of the club.
He said: “There has been a public perception that has been, in some cases, over-simplified and in some cases, incorrect.
“There has been no sense of diminishing sporting opportunities in Montrose.”
He committed to raising money to relocate the cricket section’s artificial wicket, which is expected to cost between £10,000 to £12,000.
Councillors were told the sporting ground is built on common good land, meaning it has to be used for community benefit.
John McDonald, representing the club’s cricket section, said: “This has been the home of cricket in Montrose for than 100 years. Any decision should be put on hold until the use of the park and the membership has been agreed.”
Iain Macpherson, who has played cricket for the town since 1988, said: “My concern is now that gardens to the west will be in direct line of our big hitters, of which there are a few.”