Funding package for new hall

EAST Garioch Green councillor Martin Ford has welcomed a proposed funding package drawn up by Aberdeenshire Council for the new community hall in Newmachar.

Councillors on Aberdeenshire policy and resources committee are being recommended to approve additional funding of up to £380,000 to allow the building of the new hall to go ahead.

A decision is expected to be reached at Thursday’s meeting of the policy and resources committee.

Councillor Ford has discussed with council’s head of finance how the authority could cover the funding shortfall for the new hall project.

He said: “Planning and fund-raising for the proposed new community hall in Newmachar has been going on for many years.

“Close to £1 million has been secured towards the project, but some of this money is time-limited and has to be spent. So building the new hall really has to go ahead now.

“The council has been fully supportive of the project. Given the funding position, the need for further council assistance has looked likely for some time.

“I’m pleased to see the formal proposal coming to policy and resources. Given the support from the council to date, I expect the funding proposal to be agreed - and I would certainly urge councillors on policy and resources to give the funding package their backing.”

Councillor Ford is not a full member of the policy and resources committee, but is a substitute member.

He will only be entitled to take part on Thursday if asked to substitute for a full member of the committee.

He added: “The Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan identifies land at Newmachar for additional housing, and that developer contributions towards a new community hall will be required.

“So there is very likely to be funding towards the new hall from future developments.

“But given the critical need to commence work on the new hall now, the council’s proposed ‘soft loan’ arrangement for part of the funding gap is a sensible and fair way forward.”