New sports facility bill soars to £7.8million

Layout of the new sports facility planned for
Layout of the new sports facility planned for

Ambitious plans for a new sports complex in East Dunbartonshire have been hit by a massive hike in costs.

Work is continuing to deliver a major new community sports facility in Bishopbriggs, but it’s been revealed that contamination on the site, as well as drainage issues, has added more than £2.6m to the bill.

East Dunbartonshire Council, in partnership with East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture (EDLC) Trust, is moving ahead with the development of a community sports hub at Huntershill.

Plans include a full-size, all-weather sports pitch with floodlighting and fencing; sports pavilion with 10 changing rooms, recreation hall; three floodlit, all-weather tennis courts; and a six-lane athletics track.

An update report on the project was given to a meeting of East Dunbartonshire Council last night (Thursday, December 17).

The council says the latest site investigation works have identified ‘previously unknown challenges’ with ground conditions and drainage, with the projected total cost of the project now estimated at £7.8million.

According to the council creating the pavilion, sports pitch, tennis courts and athletics track will cost just under £4million, however, dealing with buried contaminants on the site - as well as drainage - has added more than £2.6m to the bill. There has also been an increase in associated costs.

Additional funding will be reflected in an update to the council’s 10-year capital investment plan. Planning permission was granted for the project on Tuesday (December 15).

Councillor Alan Moir, Convener of Development and Regeneration, said: “The results of extensive testing work are more serious than initially anticipated and if we are to deliver the project we will have to tackle the challenge presented by buried contaminants.

“I am bitterly disappointed at the unavoidable increase in the cost of the project, however, the additional funding will be sourced within the capital investment plan.

“The council’s capital programme is funded differently and completely separate from the revenue budget, which pays for day-to-day services.

“We have to balance the increased costs against the need to address the contaminated materials and the desire to deliver the Huntershill development - which has been a long-cherished ambition for this authority over a number of years.

“The project will make a major contribution to our ambitions for the area as well as supporting increases in sport and leisure activities for residents from across East Dunbartonshire.

“The new facility at Huntershill will provide a focus for people of all ages and abilities to take part in sport and get active - inspiring generations of residents, sporting groups and organisations, and I am delighted that the project was supported by all local ward members, as well as the majority of councillors from across the authority.”

In addition to capital funding from the council, in-principle project funding of £500,000 has been secured from sportscotland.

A public consultation event was held at the start of the year, with people and groups given an opportunity to view and comment on plans, and also put questions to the project team.

Work has taken place with Scottish Athletics, Tennis Scotland, local football clubs, athletics groups and rugby clubs on the new facility, which will encourage sporting activity in the community, as well as enhancing facilities for local performance and club-level athletes.