Falkirk Council agree sale of Sunnyside Pavilion to Falkirk Rugby Club for £1
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The pavilion was the former wash house of the iron foundry on the site and has remained largely unchanged since it was first converted into changing rooms. However, Falkirk Rugby &Sports Club now has ambitious plans for the facility, which they will buy from the council for £1.
Members heard that the transfer will help the club transform the dilapidated pavilion into a “multi-purpose community asset”.
Facilities – particularly for female players and officials – will be greatly improved with the creation of four full-sized changing rooms, two referee changing rooms, a new physio/first aid suite, extended gym, and new laundry room.
The club is confident that local rugby participation among women and girls will increase although all players will benefit from the changes. It also intends to encourage wider community access, with local partners able to use the facilities to offer health and wellbeing programmes.
Among the changes will be a new toilet block with disabled access and baby changing facilities, while the building will get new cladding and a more efficient and greener heating system.
The pavilion, which will be operated and maintained by Falkirk Rugby Club, will be made available for use seven days a week on a not-for-profit basis.
SNP Councillor Paul Garner welcomed the proposal, saying: “The transfer of ownership of Sunnyside Pavilion to Falkirk Rugby Football & Sports Club is a great example of communities being empowered to manage and improve assets. As owners, the club can seek external funding streams not available to the council, and it will be exciting to watch the pavilion transform into an attractive, modern, multi-purpose hub delivering a variety of sport, health, and wellbeing to Falkirk’s communities.”
The club was formed in 1972 and currently leases 11.2 acres of land at Sunnyside playing fields on a long ground lease from the Council.
It already has its own clubhouse, training areas, stands and pitch facilities and the club’s business plan was praised for being “well thought out, viable and sustainable”.
While the land has been independently valued at £35,000, the council says handing the pavilion over will save it more than £20,000 every year.
The club has secured cash for the project, including Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) funding of £250,000 and £100,000 from sportscotland. It also won public support for its bid to get £146,424 from Falkirk Council’s Community Choices fund to help with the cost of an extension, floodlights, and pitch drainage improvements.
Transferring ownership to the community is a key part of the council’s Strategic Property Review, and the report admits that if the building was not transferred it is likely it would have been closed altogether.
Labour councillor Euan Stainbank asked for clarity on what would happen if the club failed to deliver improvements, although he admitted this was unlikely. He was assured that the sale for £1 was made on the bases that the changes would go ahead, otherwise the sale would be for the market value of £35,000. Funding was also being given on that basis.
Conservative councillor James Kerr also wished the club the best saying the facilities were much needed and would be a great improvement.