A sporting ground which is still used by local teams, has been put on the market by the council as a site for retail development.
Canal Park, in Banff, has been listed for sale, even though the clubs that use the facility have received no notification of the plans.
When a deal between the authority and supermarket giant Tesco collapsed in 2015, the property was taken off the market.
However, following discussion last year between councillors on the Banff and Buchan Area Committee, it was decided the common good land would be put up for sale again to explore developers’ interest after a supermarket chain and discount retailer approached Aberdeenshire Council.
But the land, gifted to the people of the town a century ago by the Duke of Fife in 1906 for the purpose of recreation, is still being used as a sports ground.
Local councillor John Cox felt that placing it on the market can be viewed in two ways.
He said: “On one hand, this is a threat to the sporting facilities in the community that currently exist, but on the other it’s an opportunity for better sporting facilities to be created as anything removed will have to be replaced.
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“It also means a prime site which could attract a significant offer for potential development with restrictions.”
Councillor Glen Reynolds claimed that any money made from a sale would be injected back into Banff, becoming a “wonderful economic opportunity”.
He said: “This sale will be good for Banff, good for the twin towns and good for the region as it will bring a community asset to life and I have no doubt there will be a great deal of understandable interest.”
However, amateur sports team, Banff Rovers FC use Canal Park for most home games, meaning between 10 and 15 matches there every season.
They have released a statement which said: “We’ve not been officially made aware that Canal Park has gone up for sale. However, we’ve heard rumours from various sources.
“We’re still using Canal Park for the majority of our home games and were looking forward to using it for our upcoming Moray Welfare season, but this may throw that out the window if there is a quick sale.
“We do have options to play elsewhere, but these pitches cost a significant amount more to hire than Canal Park which severely depletes our club funds.”
The council’s head of property and facilities Allan Whyte assured existing users that support for alternative locations would be offered if a sale went ahead.