New role for Cupar park’s old cricket pavilion

The former cricket club pavilion in Duffus Park.
The former cricket club pavilion in Duffus Park.

A former cricket pavilion in Cupar’s Duffus Park looks set to be used as a base for children’s football coaching activities.

The pavilion was the home of Cupar Cricket Club until the organisation folded a few years ago.

The extension to the pavilion will accommodate additional sports-related accommodation and offices

Alan Paul, property services manager

Members of Fife Council’s north east Fife area committee heard that AMS (formerly AM Soccer) had applied to lease the pavilion and pitch nearby, indicating that they would be responsible for the cost of repairing and extending the building and maintaining the football ground.

It was understood that AMS would require a lease of both the pavilion and pitch to obtain grants.

In a report, Alan Paul, the Council’s property services senior manager, pointed out that the authority was responsible for managing Duffus Park, whose assets were common good.

Mr Paul said it was proposed to grant a full and repairing lease to AMS for £25 years, at £1250 per annum, subject to five yearly reviews.

“The extension to the pavilion will accommodate additional sports-related accommodation and offices for AMS together with a small area of commercial office space to be sublet to a sports-related commercial travel business,” added the official.

Local councillor Bryan Poole was concerned about setting a precedent by allowing a small commercial enterprise in a public park, believing what was proposed was a complicated arrangement.

The committee agreed to the lease, subject to the approval of Cupar Community Council.

A lease between Howe of Fife Ruby Football Club for Duffus Park was also discussed.

It came to light recently that no actual lease existed with the council, although the Howe had been using the park since the 1950s.

The legal basis for the initial occupation is unclear, but a 1910 disposition, under which the local authority owned the majority of the park, was apparently interpreted as granting clubs a right in perpetuity, rather than on a leased basis.

Mr Paul added: “This may explain why no lease record has been found, even though for many years the club have been paying an annual sum for the use of the rugby pitches which has been treated as rent.

“Following feudal reform, the rights and restrictions in the 1910 disposition were not preserved and have therefore been extinguished. As a consequence, the club have no occupancy rights.” Similarly, the council as land owners, owned the stand at the ground.

A 99-year lease at £1500 per annum, with reviews, was agreed, along with transferring the stand as part of the lease.