Peterhead folk get their say

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Peterhead folk are to be given the chance next week to make their views known on the development of future sports facilities at the town’s Catto Park.

It has long been acknowledged that Peterhead, despite being the largest town in Aberdeenshire, has not enjoyed the same sporting and community facility investment as other towns in the Shire in recent years.

As part of this community consultation, Peterhead Football Club appointed PMR Leisure, a specialist Community Sports & Leisure Consultancy, to speak to many groups involved in sport in the town.

They are hosting a meeting on Wednesday night in the Community Centre Theatre to engage the community.

Feedback received so far has indicated that everyone seems joined in agreement that there are gaps in provision for both school and community user.

PMR Leisure hopes this study will identify a plan for a community led facility development for the future.

It has certainly been given the full support of local sports clubs such as Jogscotland, Peterhead Boys FC and Peterhead Rugby Club.

Ali Hynd from the Boys Club said: “Peterhead Boys Club as the primary user of the Catto Park area are both excited and relieved to see progress with the development of the facility.

“After several meetings with councillors and council staff we feel our needs as a club and a community will be catered for with this group.

“Peterhead has been a town desperate for this to happen for too long. It is our chance to stand up, be counted and meet the needs of the next generation of footballers, athletes and sports enthusiasts it deserves to have.

“The Olympics may not have affected our community but we can definitely create a legacy with this project.”

Stephen Bruce of Jogscotland has had several meetings regarding the proposals and enthused: “I am really encouraged about the commitment and enthusiasm of all parties involved to help improve the facilities in Peterhead.

“Although this study was initiated by Peterhead Football Club it is looking at all facilities in Peterhead, and definitely not just about improving the facilities for Peterhead Football Club but all those involved with all sports in the town - athletics, football, rugby, hockey, aquash and other sports have been discussed.

“If it had been otherwise I would have not got involved. For far too long Peterhead the largest town in Aberdeenshire has been left on the shelf when other town sports facilities have improved.

“We hope to change all that for the betterment of everyone in the town.”

And his fellow site user Neil Davidson from Peterhead RFC said: “We have played there for many years and conditions continue to get worse. We are keen to be involved with any project looking to improve facilities at Catto Park which can keep rugby alive and working with others to develop sport for our young people in the town.”

Aberdeenshire Council is supporting the work and is keen to see a needs-led solution for Catto Park which provides a long-term solution for community sport in the town and takes into consideration the potential population growth of the town in future years.

The project is also becoming involved in the forthcoming Community Planning survey which will enable further views to be collated for the feasibility.

Peterhead FC has this week withdrawn the current planning application for their stadium improvements, to allow this work to provide a ‘whole-site’ solution which brings new facilities to Catto Park for the community alongside appropriate modernisation of the stadium.

PMR Leisure says it will be brought forward as a “holistic solution for the site” and one the town would like to see.

Peterhead Projects are also involved and says it welcomes the investigation into developing a community hub at Catto Park providing that any outcome is able to accommodate the full spectrum of community needs for the town and that the development is community-led and community-run.”

The process is trying to ensure young people are involved and consultation has involved speaking to the Pupil Council at Peterhead Academy 
 to gain their views on community facilities for young people and the consultants are meeting more young people along with the towns youth workers in the coming weeks.