Forth village football project is a four-year saga

Whitehouse Pavilion in Forth was closed in 2011 after council workers found asbestos
Whitehouse Pavilion in Forth was closed in 2011 after council workers found asbestos

What seemed like a simple plan to put a redundant Forth sports facility back into use for the community still hasn’t become a reality four years on.

Now the Forth Community Football Club is accusing the building’s owners, South Lanarkshire Leisure, of causing the long delay through endless foot-dragging and red tape.

Now nearing the end of his tether, the club chairperson, John Mackenzie, has made a renewed call to try to finally get the scheme moving for the organisation to take over the Whitehouse Pavilion, repair it and get it functioning again.

He said: “Since the mothballing of the pavilion due to asbestos contamination almost four years ago, we have tried in every way to meet SLL’s requirements to get the building open and functioning once again to give our players changing facilities.

“Every time we have cleared one problem, several more impediments are placed in our way. We are now depressed and frustrated by their lack of support. We have now decided to put our plans on hold for the time being.”

Gerry Campbell, general manager of South Lanarkshire Leisure said he understood the club’s aspirations and recognised it was a “desirable initiative” and a total of four meetings had been held with the club to discuss the project, three of them in recent months.

He said: “We also arranged contact between the club and the SFA, and supplied information in support of a business plan providing detailed revenue cost projections. It should be acknowledged that whilst we have provided time and resources towards this initiative that the success of any proposals would inevitably have been largely dependent on local input. A number of meetings have also been held with the council regarding the facility and a further meeting scheduled for November was cancelled with no representatives attending from the club. With the meeting not going ahead there was no opportunity to explore this matter further.”