How much did Celtic pay for training paradise?

CELTIC'S state-of-the-art training complex was heralded as a major boost for East Dunbartonshire, but how much has it benefited locals?

That's the thorny question being asked in Lennoxtown, where the 8m facility opened in 2007.

The complex, on a 50-acre site in the grounds of the former Lennox Castle Hospital, was hailed as a key part of plans to regenerate the village following the closure of Lennox Castle Hospital.

At the time East Dunbartonshire Council leader Rhondda Geekie said: "I'm sure it will be a boost to current regeneration efforts in that area and bring many benefits to Lennoxtown and the surrounding towns and villages."

But now concerned residents are asking what funding benefits the training complex has brought to the Lennoxtown Initiative regeneration project.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said: "I would like to know exactly what the financial benefits are for Lennoxtown from Celtic's football complex.

"It opened in a blaze of glory with promises of re-investment and jobs, but I've yet to see any evidence of that. I don't see how Celtic's complex has financially benefited the area or the regeneration of Lennoxtown."

Celtic purchased the 50 acre site from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

A spokesperson for the health authority said: "The sale of the land to Celtic Football Club was part of the regeneration programme for the town.

"The relocation of Celtic's training facilities and their development of a football academy has been a catalyst for further investment in the town by businesses and families moving in to new premises, jobs and homes."

Brian McAleenan, chief executive of the Lennoxtown Initiative, told the Herald that a service level agreement between Celtic and Lennoxtown Initiative had been independently assessed by East Dunbartonshire Council as being worth 841,860 over a nine-year period.

As part of the agreement, Celtic allow training access to two local boys' football clubs one night a week between 5pm and midnight.

The club also granted use of the facility during the month of June 2009 for schools and community organisations across East Dunbartonshire. This exercise is to be repeated in June 2010.