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Monty's project gaining support

August 27, 2014

Judy Murray and Colin Montgomerie's plans to locate Scotland's first purpose-built Tennis and Golf Centre of its kind at Stirling, has received the backing of three of the UK's leading sporting bodies.

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), The Professional Golfers Association (PGA) and Tennis Scotland have all pledged their support to the development and have written to the planning authority with their views.

Commenting in their letter to Stirling Council, Brian Mair from the PGA said: " This is our opportunity to demonstrate what Scotland has to offer and, most importantly, create a legacy that will benefit the sport and country in the years to come ."

Davis Cup Captain, Leon Smith from the Lawn Tennis Association was keen to point out that: " This tennis centre will create a special environment whereby both players and coaches can come together to learn from Judy and her coaching team and will greatly strengthen the likelihood of finding another Scottish Wimbledon champion in the future. Judy is also passionate about the Stirling area as a whole and will be able to create very strong community links across the local clubs, schools and parks generating much needed playing activity and at the same time develop a stronger coaching workforce throughout the local area. Scottish tennis needs to continue to develop better players and coaches and this proposed tennis centre can be the leading programme in Scotland to deliver this ."

Comment on sporting facilities, Chairman, Gordon J Baker and President, Ian Conway from Tennis Scotland said: " We are committed to improving access to the port, increasing and investing in our facilities and improving the tennis workforce to assist in making tennis available to as much of the Scottish population as possible. In our experience, significant independent investments are few and far between and, given our ambitions to grow the game in Scotland on the back of a golden period for Tennis, these [proposals] should be given serious consideration ."

The new leisure centre, planned to be built at Park of Keir between Dunblane and Bride of Allan in Stirlingshire, will include six indoor and six outdoor tennis courts, a six-hole golf course with practice range, mini golf, 3G multi-sport all weather pitch along with changing facilities, coaching suites, and café restaurant. A hotel is also planned to reflect Stirling's growing importance in tourism and sport.

Plans for the development were announced in autumn 2013 and following a series of public consultation events and meetings with key community stakeholders, the partners have made some changes to the original proposal for the centre and its surroundings.

The partners having listened to both the positive ideas and concerns raised during the community consultation undertaken last year, have made revisions to the golf course and the housing proposal. The Park of Keir proposals will now provide for a 6-hole golf course (reduced from a 9-hole course) which is in direct response to concerns raised by members of the existing Dunblane and Bridge of Allan Golf Clubs, that another golf course would impact on their visitor numbers and memberships. The Park of Keir facility is aimed specifically at beginners and kids who have never played golf, so the need for a full 9-hole course was reconsidered. The shortened "trainer" course also has the dual benefit that people only need a spare hour to play a few holes. This significantly reduces the extent of the proposed Park of Keir sports facilities and will retain an extensive permanent green belt between the local communities of Dunblane and Bridge of Allan.

The partners have also listened to feedback about the proposed housing which is an essential part of the development to ensure that the centre is built debt-free, which in turn is a pre-requsite to ensuring that the cost of access to the facilities will be less than it otherwise would be. Concerns raised about the risk of further future development "creepage" and potential risk of proposed development leading to the coalescence of Dunblane and Bridge of Allan, can be put at ease as the developers are keen to enter into discussions with the local communities about them taking ownership of the residual land as a "Community Park" to further enhance the accessibility of the site for leisure and recreational use. The impact of the proposed project on Park of Keir needs to be considered in context, given that only 15% (40 acres) of the overall 282 acres will be utilised for the Sport facilities, hotel and housing area. The remaining 240 acres will remain as green open space, to which public access for general recreational purposes will be greatly improved and more importantly, its future management by the local communities will be secured.

The centre at Park of Keir would be a destination for families to play together and is planned to provide other leisure facilities such as a children's adventure park, woodland walks and mountain bike trails, all geared to encouraging people to enjoy active sport.

Park of Keir has the benefit of excellent road network access, just off the M9, less than hour from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee and a ninety-minute drive from Aberdeen and Inverness.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the Park of Keir project and following its progress can now do so at www.park-of-keir.com




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