Fife’s ‘worst changing rooms’ to be replaced

Dilapidated changing rooms at a St Andrews football park - branded as the worst in Fife - are to be replaced.

Councillors have voted through a new facility at Cockshaugh Park after considering a report by local authority officials which revealed that the present structure - first introduced as a “temporary” resource more than 25 years ago - had fallen into a dangerous state of disrepair.

Local football clubs in St Andrews are celebrating the news, while Fife councillor Bill Sangster has also welcomed the decision to erect a new single-storey modular unit at the park.

It will have a floor area of approximately 130 square metres and will be finished in timber cladding with a flat roof. The new building will meet current Disability Discrimination Act guidance and will house areas for male and female referees and provide a section for the storage of equipment.

There were a number of objections to the application by Fife Council, principally on the grounds of inadequate parking provision in the area.

However, planning officials pointed out that the use of the park was well established and transporation officials raised no objections on the basis that the facility would not significantly increase the level of car parking in the surrounding streets and posed no road safety concerns.

Supporters of the application claimed that the existing building was the worst of any used by the 50-odd football clubs in Fife and was labelled “a disgrace and embarrassment,” as well as being a health hazard with “dangerous electrics.”

A representative of a local amateur football team said:”It should have been condemned years ago.”

A club official added: ”People’s health and safety is being put at risk every time the current facility is used. Its condition is appalling, shameful and dangerous. The most important thing is that we have clean, safe facilities that our next generation of young footballers can use with pride.”

Councillor Sangster said that the present changing room facility did not meet meet the health and safety standards now required.

He told the Citizen: ”This has been a long and ongoing concern. The existing building is past repair.”

Meanwhile, the changing room pavilion at Tom Morris Drive, which is also used by local football teams, has undergone a facelift.

Over recent months, Councillor Sangster has held a series of meetings with representatives from St Andrews Colts FC - the club runs several youth teams - and council officials to discuss the poor condition of the interior of the building.

He told the Citizen:”It was in a very poor state of repair and the fittings were about 30 years old and past their best. All the wooden fittings and walls have been repaired and repainted.

‘‘Council officials were most helpful and the work was carried out to a high standard by the Community Payback Team and they have to be congratulated.”

The Community Service scheme is where offenders pay back to the local area for the crimes that they have committed.

Councillor Sangster added: ”The improvement to these facilities has taken time because of the work involved in finding the funding in these financially-constrained times. The facilities at both parks will now be up to a very high standard and the teams can take a pride in keeping them in that condition.”