Blazing row over pavilion liability after missing insurance

The bowling club on Victoria Road was burned down last year
The bowling club on Victoria Road was burned down last year

A fire at Peterhead Bowling Club last year has raised questions over who is responsible for insurance after an argument over the ownership.

The 40-year old pavilion was burned down in a fire last year on Sunday, June 15.

Aberdeenshire Council had intended to have the pavilion demolished and a new one built, with the work originally to begin earlier in the year during February.

However, confusion over is responsible for the insurance has emerged and as such no claim has been made.

It is thought that enquiries about an insurance claim were made, but were unable to be completed as it emerged that the lease on the land had expired in 2005.

The local authority say the issue lies with the property owners.

A council spokesperson said: “The Victoria Bowling Club pavilion building was not owned by Aberdeenshire Council and responsibilty for the insurance for insurance of the pavilion and any rebuilds rests with the landowner.”

The land is owned by Feuars Managers of Peterhead, who dispute the claim that the insurance is the responsibilty of the landowners.

Iain Jane, Clerk to the Feuars, told the Buchanie that they have in place public liability insurance to cover themselves in ‘respect of any claims made by someone injured on Feuars owned land’.

He added: “It is my understanding the pavilion was built by the local authority and therefore it was for them to insure.

“The pavilion has not ever been owned or gifted to the Feuars. Therefore we have never had a need to insure it.

“It is my understanding that the local authority did have insurance in respect of the building.”

Mr Jane, as a solicitor at AFJ Peterhead, claims to have seen documentation that the previous local authority, Banff & Buchan District Council, intended to lease the area encompassing the bowling greens and the pavilion in 1976. It is not clear if this lease was ever concluded.

The Clerks to the Feuars claim to be ‘urgently’ investigating this.

Mr Jane also reported seeing documents about a merging of land into one composite lease in 1995, however for reasons unknown this did not include the bowling green.

Mr Jane: “The lease was drawn up by the former solicitors who acted as Clerks to the Feuars at the time. It is not clear why none of the parties insisted the land on which the pavilion was built upon should not be included in the composite lease.

“If the council did not have an interest in the land then questions arise as to why the pavilion in the first place and then why did they continue to pay insurance premiums on said building.”

Mr Jane went on to add that this could potentially be construed as a ‘misappropriation of funds’.

These accusations have been put to the council over a week ago by the Buchanie.

They have yet to respond, but repeated their statement that they do not own the land and have never paid insurance on it.

The bowling club expect to hear from the council this month as what help, financially and practically, they will get to have the club ready for reopening by next season in the Spring of 2016.

Both the Feuars and Aberdeenshire Council have expressed that they would be willing to assist the club in order to have them up and running again.