Construction work begins on long-awaited Banchory Sports Village

Locator of the Banchory Sports Village site.
Locator of the Banchory Sports Village site.

It has been a marathon journey from the planning stage to the actual building process.

But a Deeside community is celebrating its success after the starting pistol was fired on a long-awaited sports facility.

The £7.7million Banchory Sports Village was approved by Aberdeenshire Council last summer after decades of the town battling to bring a new complex to the area.

The plans for the sports village include a six-lane swimming pool, a training pool, a three-court sports hall, fitness suite, squash courts, changing facilities, cafe and reception.

Building work was scheduled to start in October, but due to contractual wranglings, construction was delayed by a month.

However, Lord Provost Bill Howatson used the first spade at the ceremonial sod-cutting yesterday.

The facility – which is being built to the north of Hill of Banchory Primary School – has been funded in part by the local community who raised £700,000.

James Knowles has been the chairman of the trust, which handed over the funds last year.

He said: “It has been a long road for local people and I would say this brought a smile to people’s faces when they got to see work progressing with the contractors on site.

“People are now looking forward to having this facility available next year.

“This is something that is long overdue, the population has been growing but the facilities locally haven’t reflected that.

“We were presented with the challenge of raising £700,000 which we accepted and delivered and that money is now in the bank.

“This will be an iconic facility for Banchory and the surrounding area.”

Banchory residents have been calling for upgraded sporting amenities for many years, with the current swimming pool at the town’s academy only 20metres (65ft) in length.

The new centre, which will be run and managed by the local authority, is due to open in May next year.