Kicking off bid to keep Denny centre

Councillor Paul Garner
Councillor Paul Garner

An under-threat football facility could be saved from closure if it is taken over by the community.

Denny Football Centre has been earmarked for closure by Falkirk Community Trust as part of its cost-cutting moves.

However, two local councillors revealed they have been in talks with groups keen to take the facility into local control.

The centre is the gymnasium and playing fields of the former Denny High School and retained as a community facility when the new campus opened 
at Herbertshire.

Councillor Paul Garner said: “More than 5000 people a year use the centre, despite the extremely poor marketing and access the council and trust has failed to address.

“The centre is an integral part of the booming youth football scene in the Denny area and utilised by local teams such as Central Rio and Denny Amateurs, as well as by the general community.

“The trust has said the centre has been selected for closure because Falkirk Council has given its backing to a new full-size 3G pitch at Dunipace Juniors’ ground, which they believe may better serve the needs of the local community.

“While we are fully behind the new 3G pitch, the reality is these plans are in their early stages and Denny Football Centre accommodates more than just football teams because it offers much-needed indoor facilities that are in short supply in 
the area.”

Councillor Martin Oliver 
also questioned closing a facility that has had £650,000 invested in it since 2011.

He said: “While our preference is for the retention of the centre as a wholly owned public asset, I would have no hesitation in backing community takeover.”

This week, Maureen Campbell, trust chief executive, said: “In the event that we are no longer able to operate facilities we are keen for community groups to operate them if they are still available to the public.”