A new lease of life for the Archaeolink site?

The former attraction Archaeolink at Oyne that has been closed since 2011
The former attraction Archaeolink at Oyne that has been closed since 2011

FOLLOWING extensive consultation with the residents of Oyne, Oyne Community Association has announced that it intends to pursue community ownership of the former Archaeolink site.

Since Archaeolink closed in spring 2011, local residents have expressed concern at what might become of the site and the deterioration of the former attraction due to lack of use.

The Community Association say that the iconic design of the Archaeolink building is “something to be cherished and only by bringing it back into everyday use can its future be protected. There is a strong desire in Oyne for the facility to be given a new lease of life which will benefit the community. It is considered that the best way to achieve this is for the community to take ownership and run the facility.”

OCA point out that as Archaeolink’s original intended use is no longer viable an alternative use is required. They note that high running costs of the building dictate that community use alone will not pay the bills, and consequently, the Community Association is developing a “robust proposal that will include a commercial business coupled with community benefit”.

Neil Lightowler, Chairman, Oyne Community Association, said, “A feasibility study commissioned by Oyne Community Association identified the key market opportunity for this site is in the child focused activity sector. In light of this, Kool Kidz Playcentre in Insch was approached with a view to developing a collaborative proposal for the former Archaeolink site.

“Kool Kidz aim to provide fun, social, physical and educational activities to promote healthy, happy children and consider the site has ample scope to achieve it. They currently employ 25 full and part time staff from the local area and expect that number to grow by at least a third. The company has two directors, Stuart Mackie and Mike Bisset, both living locally.”

A substantial majority of Oyne’s residents approved the proposal for an activity centre to be developed by Oyne Community Association in collaboration with Kool Kidz Playcentre. This will form the basis for an application to Aberdeenshire Council for a Community Asset Transfer.

Neil Lightowler added, “The former Archaeolink site is a large facility in the midst of our village, and residents have many concerns because whatever happens to it is likely to have a direct impact on most of them.

“Oyne Community Association has taken the initiative to identify a sustainable use for the site that will benefit the community at large and not be reliant on constant funding from Aberdeenshire Council. Bringing together Oyne Community and Kool Kidz Playcentre offers a winning solution.”

Mike Bisset, director of Kool Kidz Playcentre, said, “The ever increasing dilapidation of Archaeolink is plain to see and it will require significant investment to revitalise it. I’m delighted that Kool Kidz are working with Oyne Community Association to seek community ownership.”