COUNCILLORS have given the green light to East Kilbride Community Trust to extend their state-of-the-art sports complex in Calderglen Country Park.
The Trust lodged plans with South Lanarkshire Council for an 81 square metre extension to the changing pavilion to provide toilet facilities and a fitness room, which were approved at a planning committee meeting this week, along with a detailed application for a four metre high stainless steel sculpture featuring the letters EKCT, at the entrance of the development.
Planning permission was granted in December 2009 for the sports complex which will include a full-size football pitch, two five-a-side football pitches, a 60 metre running track, spectator seating and a gymnasium.
East Kilbride Community Trust, which was set up by local property tycoon James Kean, his brother Paul and sports journalist Iain King, were awarded a concessionary 50 year lease for the playing fields next to the adventure playground when the proposals were initially submitted to South Lanarkshire Council.
The Trust say their main objective is to encourage as many children in the East Kilbride area as possible to join a sports club and benefit from the facilities and coaching expertise which will be on offer.
Any money raised from the new complex will be invested in youth development and there will be no profit-making for anyone involved.
However, the Trust makes no secret of the fact that the plans are the first step in a longer-term goal to form a professional football club.
East Kilbride East councillor, and chair of the planning committee, Graham Scott, hailed the development as a massive boost for the town praising its innovative design.
He said: “As one of the local members I have to complement East Kilbride Community Trust on what is a fabulous devlopment.
“Having seen the building it is a very innovative design which is a community based facility and a community asset.
“It is a huge addition to Calderglen Country Park and is also a fabulous asset to East Kilbride as a whole.”
The granting of permission for the extension will not affect the existing sports pavilion, which recently opened its door to the public, although the car park’s turning area will need to be altered slightly.
South Lanarkshire Council received no objections to the plans to extend the sports complex although a letter was received raising concerns over the possibility of further applications from East Kilbride Community Trust and the impact an extension would have on nesting birds and other wildlife in the park.
However, a planning officer said that the application was for a small extension which was a similar design to the existing complex and would not have a detrimental impact on the existing facilities in Calderglen Park.
And in relation to the effect on wildlife the officer stated that the extension wasn’t near any trees and was unlikely to have an impact on nesting birds or any other wildlife.