Final end for Castings?

Castings Club
Castings Club
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Objectors to the planned demolition of a sports club had an opportunity to make their views known.

A site visit organised by Falkirk Council allowed both sides to have their say about the proposal for the Castings Community Sports and Social Club.

Mark Agnew has applied to knock down the clubhouse and build houses on the former bowling green and tennis courts site.

However, many people living close to the Etna Road facility want to see it retained for community use.

Club members were called to a meeting in August last year and told the shutters would come down in early September.

Tommy McMillan of Alchemy Inns bought the club 13 years ago when it was under threat. However, in 2012 he said it was no longer financially viable to keep open as it was around £20,000 in debt.

Earlier this year the application to redevelop the site was submitted to the council’s planning department.

When it came to committee in June, councillors heard it was potentially contrary to policy as it involved the loss of open space and play provision. However, officials recommended rubberstamping the plans.

Members decided to visit the site to see the area for themselves.

Sportscotland had initially objected to the proposal and said the applicant should pay between £100,000-200,000 compensation.

However, it has now agreed a commuted sum of £40,000 would be acceptable with the cash going towards upgrading the tennis courts at Dollar Park, improved changing facilities, upgrading the surface and putting in floodlighting.

A planner’s report noted: “Overall, considering the scope of these improvements, it was considered this project should be able to compensate for the loss of the three courts at Castings.”

But Councillor David Alexander said local people turned up at Monday morning’s site visit to make their feelings known and argue for retention of the sports ground.

He said: “They don’t want to lose this facility and made a very good case for retaining it.

”Sportscotland argue that there is enough bowling provision elsewhere but around half of the 66 members of the Castings section have not joined another club, which is sad.”

A decision is likely on the plans next month.