Alford charity handed part of Haughton Park by Aberdeenshire Council

The charity will create a £300,000 bike track in the park.The charity will create a £300,000 bike track in the park.
The charity will create a £300,000 bike track in the park.
An Alford charity has been handed part of Haughton Park as their bid to create a £300,000 bike track passed a major milestone.

The Friends of Haughton Park submitted a bid to take over part of the village green from Aberdeenshire Council last September.

Local authority chiefs have now agreed the charity can lease the ground for 25 years at a cost of just £1 per year.

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The plans to bring two pump tracks and an all-ability trail to the Alford park have beeen a long time coming – having first been unveiled by the charity in 2019.

Volunteers estimated that the total project would cost around £300,000 however they are on track to meet this goal.

They have already raised £200,000 and are hoping to get the remaining funds through a sportscotland grant.

A pump track is designed for use by everything from skateboards and scooters to BMX bikes and rollerblades. One track will be built for beginners while the second will be for more advanced users.

The all-ability trail will link the car park to the pump track. It will be suitable for users on foot, bikes and wheelchairs.

The pump tracks are expected to be constructed to the southern end of the park and would not affect the existing equipment.

But the park’s football goals will be moved to ensure folk can still enjoy a kickabout.

Charity volunteers will maintain the new facilities to ensure they are kept in full working order.

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It is hoped that the new addition at the heart of the Howe of Alford community will inspire people of all ages and abilities to get active.

Council officers backed the proposal and said the two complementary facilities would enhance the park for the local community and visitors alike.

The community asset transfer was unanimously approved by the Marr area committee earlier today.

Committee chairman councillor Robbie Withey praised the “organised” and “professional” volunteers for their work on the proposal.

He added: “It’s a very good project, supported locally, and I’m delighted to see it before us.”

Councillor Gwyneth Petrie said the plan was a “great use” of the ground: “What we’re seeing in Alford is a really good partnership between the council and some group.”

Friends of Haughton Park chair Simone Sinclair said the charity was “delighted” to have the lease agreed.

She said: “This marks a major step forward for the project and we hope to start construction on the facility in spring 2023. We have been working on this project since 2018 so we are delighted to have achieved this aim.

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“We are now another step closer to having an exciting community asset, attractive to locals and visitors alike, in our beautiful park. We know there is an appetite for this kind of sympathetic development in the park and see it as a win-win situation of Haughton Park and Alford.”

Detailed plans for the bike park and trail will now be submitted for planning permission.

The new park facility is the latest project aimed at regenerating the Alford area.

Volunteers from the Alford Valley Community Railway were given permission to reopen the popular attraction earlier this year.

A new lease was signed at the nearby Haughton Holiday Park bringing improvements to the site for visitors.