Moray Sport Centre boost as minister gives backing ‘in principle’

Richard Lochhead with
Richard Lochhead with the Scottish Government Minister for Sport, Jamie Hepburn

PLANS FOR MORAY sport to be boosted with its own multi-purpose centre took a major step forward this week with support coming from the Scottish Government Minister for Sport.

Proposals for a new centre were first revealed by the chairman of Springfield Housing, Sandy Adam, in May last year, followed up by a public meeting where interested groups and organisations from throughout Moray discussed the idea.

Around 250 people attended the meeting in June when Mr Adam revealed that local business had already got behind the idea including former Rock Star North president Leslie Benzies.

That meeting was facilitated by Richard Lochhead MSP, who had for some time advocated the need in Moray for a central multi-sports venue. Since then plans have progress with Mr Adam revealing that he had acquired a site for the venture on the south of Elgin close to the Linkwood Distillery.  Earlier this month detailed plans were posted on the project website.

Now Richard Lochhead has revealed that following a meeting with his ministerial colleague Jamie Hepburn MSP at which he provided a brief on the Moray plans, a follow-up letter has been received from Mr Hepburn indicating he was “very happy to support the development in principle”.

In his letter Mr Hepburn confirmed that national agency for sport, sportscotland, had been in discussions with Mr Adam and his colleagues, who were encouraged to continue to develop their business plan to ensure the proposals are both successful and sustainable.

Mr Hepburn expressed the view that a Moray Sports Centre would be a welcome addition to local sporting infrastructure and gave an assurance that sportscotland’s chief executive, Stewart Harris, would continue discussions over the next few weeks.

Mr Lochhead said: “I was delighted to have the opportunity to brief the Minister for Sport, Jamie Hepburn, on the plans for first class sports facilities in Moray.

“Having chaired the public meeting at the start of the project I am well aware of the excitement around the project and I know that many people will benefit from its development. Since then, we’ve seen plans drawn up and a public consultation held, and it is clear that progress is being made.

“To have the support of the Scottish Government’s Sports Minister is a big boost for the project and it is encouraging that sportscotland continue to assist Sandy Adam and those leading the plans.

“I look forward to monitoring the progress over the coming weeks and in particular to seeing the final design of this centre, which will undoubtedly be a game changer for sport in Moray and will go a long way to providing a healthier and brighter future for our young people in particular.”