Thursday, April 01, 2010

National Curling Academy update

It's now past noon on April 1, so I can assure you there's nothing of an April Fool's joke in this post. I rather wish it was though. There's yet more controversy surrounding the proposed National Curling Academy project.

Apparently the Kinross Curling Trust, charged with facilitating the construction of the National Curling Academy with RCCC offices and a curling history museum, has halted all expenditure on the Kinross site to protect Trust funds. It appears that a problem emerged as the Kinross Curling Trust and Kinross Estates Company were working on the lease of the site for the new complex. The issue lies between the Estate Company and an adjacent land owner. Until this is resolved the Estate Company cannot give clear title to the site to the Trust.

That puts the project on hold meantime.

At an open meeting last Monday, trustee Jamie Montgomery advised those attending of the steps that the Estate Company is taking to secure an early amicable solution. However, he also indicated that the issue might have to be taken to the Lands Tribunal Scotland.

Trust Chairman Bob Tait says, "This information was put to the meeting to try to keep unhelpful speculation to a minimum as that might interfere with negotiations. The issues are sensitive and it is too soon to speculate on how this impacts on the timescale. I undertook to keep members informed of meaningful developments. In the meantime the Trust is seeking advice from its advisers on how it might help resolve the issues."

When outline planning permission was granted last November by Perth and Kinross Council, the Perthshire Advertiser described the project in an article here. There was perhaps just a hint in the last paragraphs that trouble might be ahead:

"A motion to approve The Muirs site was led by development control convener Willie Wilson: 'Obviously this is a major application in terms of Kinross and Perth and Kinross; equally so, it’s a sensitive site and has the potential to affect the setting of a number of areas, including the bowling green, golf club and surrounding houses. On balance I consider it to be appropriate to approve with the additional condition that appropriate mitigation measures are taken to protect the residential amenity of Woodlands (a house adjacent to the development site).' Councillor Wilson also called on the Kinross Curling Trustees to embark on a detailed consultation exercise with local residents as soon as possible."

Fundraising for the project nevertheless continues apace. The first eight months of fundraising has seen the Kinross Trust bank £62,900. Clubs are holding £16,700 earmaked for the project and events planned in the next few months are expected to raise around a further £20,000. The local target for fundraising is £250,000.

Of course, the main source of funding for the project is sportscotland. I understand that the Trust's application will be considered by the sportscotland Board at a meeting scheduled for April 28.

In an update on the project dated February 26, 2010, which is on the Trust's website here, the timetable for the project was the end of June 2010 for tenders to be invited, and the end of November 2010 for the start of the building works. This would need to happen to secure opening by September 2011. Total costs to get the project to the point where construction starts are estimated to be around £175,000 although over half of this has been spent (and paid for) just getting to the position the project is in today.

There's more information about the project on the Kinross Curling Trust website, which presumably will be updated with a report on Monday's meeting soon. There is information about who's who on the trustees here, although it is disappointing that this is incomplete. The same page leads to a link from where the Kinross Curling Trust Memorandum and Articles of Association can be downloaded.

The photo of the proposed site for the NCA was taken by me last summer and is © Skip Cottage