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Kintore football club evicted: Flood ruling could force teams to fold

Midmill Park welcomes more than 240 kids every week during the season - now the teams are looking for a new home.

Midmill Park. Image: Google Maps.
Midmill Park. Image: Google Maps.

Kintore’s only football pitch is set to be shut down amid flooding fears.

Midmill park, home of Kintore United Football Club, accommodates over 240 boys and girls every week during football season.

But now, after advice from SEPA, Aberdeenshire Council has been forced to shut it down over the field’s role in preventing floods.

The news means that the club could be discontinued unless they can find a new surface by the start of next season.

Hundreds of Kintore football players impacted

The players aged between 5 -18 make up 13 football teams, with nine boys teams and four girls teams.

Approximately 70 volunteers work to run the club.

The pitch is owned by local car dealership C&M McDonald, who have ploughed “hundreds of thousands” of pounds into the playing surface over 14 years.

Director of the firm, Maxwell McDonald, said that there was a “a lot of upset created by the decision”.

The football park could be closed by the end of the month. Image: Google Maps.

‘It’s a shame that its come to this’

Speaking exclusively to the Press and Journal, he said: “The football team have been playing there since 2010.

“Sepa have said now that the infill in the pitch has to come back out because of the flood storage of water.

“We put the fill in and a new drainage system for them to make the pitch more playable and we’ve never charged them any rent for that.

“We have to dig the stuff out now, because Kintore obviously has problems with water in the area.

“It’s one of those things, something has to be done.

“But once we lower the field the pitch will have to be discontinued completely – the field won’t be any use unfortunately.

“They have been searching around for a new place to play, but there is a lack of space in the area to play football on.

“There is a lot of upset around the community with it.”

C&M McDonald have pumped “hundreds of thousands” into the pitch. Image: Colin Rennie/DC Thomson.

The secretary for Kintore United Football Club confirmed the news.

Not wishing to be named, they said: “We’re actually losing the pitch at the end of this month.

“There are a couple of other factors, but it is devastating for the club and community as a whole.”

Desperate search for new home

The football field is built atop a flood plain which holds vast amounts of water during periods of heavy rainfall.

It means that the pitch is prone to ‘drooping’ near the western side near the town’s Sherriff Burn.

Actions had been taken to straighten out the pitch, but the owners have been told they must remove the filling and restore it to its natural state out of their own pocket.

Once removed, the pitch will be unplayable which means that the football club will be left without a home.

Kintore District Community Council has led a desperate search for a new site which could house the club.

They have put out an urgent appeal for business and land owners to consider hosting a new playing surface for the club.

If a deadline of the end of June is not met, then they say the club could risk going defunct.

Deadline looms for Kintore United

A Kintore District Community Council statement read: “Kintore United’s current football pitch at Midmill, Kintore has been under threat for a number of years and is about to receive its final whistle.

“SEPA is now enforcing the notice on the landowners to carry out work which will mean the end of football there.

“The club has tried in vain to secure another short or long term home to allow them to continue to play and train.

“Despite the potential of an extra pitch being built on the Kintore Pleasure Park nothing conclusive has been agreed and even if this was successful, the timescale short term is against them.

“If you are a landowner, developer or farmer who can help the club by supplying land locally suitable for a football pitch, please get in touch as soon as possible.

“We are now coming to the end of extra time with a June deadline looming.”

SEPA statement

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has clarified their involvement in the potential closure of Midmill park.

In a statement, they claim they reiterate that they are “supportive” of developments which would help keep the pitch in place.

A SEPA spokesperson said: “As a statutory consultee, SEPA have provided flood risk advice to Aberdeenshire Council on several planning applications at Midmill, Kintore.

“We have been supportive of the proposals, including the mitigation measures proposed to ‘ensure that most of the site functions as floodplain in larger flood events and ensures the development of the area does not increase risk to neighbouring or downstream locations’.

“Most recently, in April 2023, SEPA provided advice on planning application APP/2023/0581.

“We had no objection to the proposed development and provided further advice in relation to flood risk.”

Aberdeenshire Council has also been contacted for comment.