Celtic’s Lennoxtown Training Centre really merges with the landscape. There is a seamless transition from the fields and forest to the ‘Greenbelt Compatible‘ training facility. As you can see it’s extremely hard to spot the training centre.
The justification for allowing Celtic to purchase the 19.45 hectares cheaply and to build their training facility at Lennoxtown rests on East Dunbartonshire Council Planning’s acceptance that the development was Greenbelt Compatible and Leisure/Recreational.
Have a look at photographs of Lennoxtown Training Centre. Please tell me they look Greenbelt Compatible:
The building is THREE stories high. Is this what is called a low profile development?
The colours do not blend into the ‘green‘ belt. They are white, grey & blue – all light colours.
The roof according to the designers is 55 metres in length and 4,000 sq. metres. As can be seen above, a building that size doesn’t fit easily into a forested green landscape or the category of Greenbelt Compatible.
And is the development respectful to it’s locality – does it fit in with other buildings in the area?
Did Historic Scotland have no input into this development? Look how close the training centre is to Lennox Castle building. Well at least the fence is ‘green‘ even though not ‘greenbelt compatible‘.
Still you would have to worry about the future of the castle building with Celtic’s track record on proximity to historic buildings:
And the approach to the facility lets you know you are approaching a ‘Greenbelt Compatible’ area? It’s more like approaching a secure facility like a jail.
You have to wonder what sort of parallel world East Dunbartonshire council planners live in to approve the above as Greenbelt Compatible.
It isn’t even worth defending the ridiculous claim that Lennoxtown Training Centre is any way Leisure/Recreational. What Lennoxtown really is, is a private multi-million football player development centre and very little to do with the communities health & well-being.
When the Lennox Castle Hospital grounds sell-off was first proposed, via The Lennoxtown Initiative charity vehicle, one of the main community issues was the lack of community leisure & recreational facilities in Lennoxtown. So the locals were fed the line that this would be a priority when selling the hospital grounds. The planning decision by East Dunbartonshire was a deception played on the community to create the illusion of consultation in order to get their permission to sell the land.
One of the Key Projects of The Lennoxtown Initiative, which was to distribute the residual funds [I don’t believe there were any] from the sale of the Lennox Castle Hospital land, according to their 2007-08 annual report, was ‘the enhancement of sporting and leisure facilities‘:
Did it happen? Not very much.
This appears to be all that amounted to Lennoxtown Initiative’s contribution – the local Lennoxtown Junior football team, Campsie Black Watch, got their New facilities in 2006 – Portakabins:
One of the latest posts on the team’s Facebook page says:
and the success in the last five years has been done without the help of a HOME pitch , the Station road park is now almost always unplayable no matter what the weather , such a shame , one of the best settings in the country to play football and the park is a never playable
So where is the local community benefiting from this ‘Leisure/Recreational‘ development when the local football team doesn’t?
The Lennoxtown Initiative appear to claim they got the MUGA [Multi Use Games Area] and Play area but the funding came from sources other than the sale of the hospital land. This Kirkintilloch Herald 2007 article says:
Funding for the 40,000 multi use games area at High Park has been received from the Landfill Tax Scheme, via SCORE Environmental Limited, Strathclyde Police and Scottish Football Association.
The 80,000 cost of the play facilities has been met by funding from the Landfill Tax Scheme, AWG Ltd, Lennox Homes and East Dunbartonshire Council.
At the beginning, when Celtic’s facility just opened, they allowed a few school groups to come in occasionally. But can it really be said to be benefiting the whole community? Before the development, locals walked through the forest area of Lennox Castle grounds but that stopped when the fences went up. The grounds recreational usage went down.
When the school kids were visiting Lennoxtown, were Celtic doing it out of the goodness of their hearts or as a money making venture. There was something called the Celtic Service Level Agreement and that will be the subject of the investigation in the next post.