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Council refuses application to sell Jock Stein Centre to Blantyre Soccer Academy

South Lanarkshire Council has refused an application for the Jock Stein Centre to be sold to Blantyre Soccer Academy.

The decision to deny the purchase was made on Wednesday, November 18, at the Community Asset Transfer Assessment Panel.

Blantyre Soccer Academy issued a statement on their Facebook page explaining that they had intended to ensure the Jock Stein Sports Facility remained open and accessible to the community.

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The academy also stated that the asset transfer application was made due to the uncertainty of the facility.

The decision has been supported by Hamilton West and Earnock councillor, Mark McGeever, who said: “Refusing to sell the Jock Stein is absolutely the right decision.

“Our community overwhelmingly wants the centre to be a multi-use public facility owned and properly maintained by the council and its leisure trust.

“I’m really grateful to everyone who made their views clear.

“Hopefully those running the council, both now and in the future, will know the community cannot accept any attempt to sell or downgrade the Jock Stein.”

He added: “While the Jock Stein should never be sold to anyone, it’s important to make clear the council should try to help Blantyre Soccer Academy find a home that will help them grow.

“They’re an ambitious club that does great things for loads of kids in our area.

“I’d like the council to work with them to find vacant public land or a disused facility that they could give a new lease of life and use to grow.”

Daniel Lowe, executive director of housing and technical resources, said: “When considering applications such as this, the council has to balance the potential benefits and investment that could be delivered through the transfer of a property to an individual organisation, such as Blantyre Soccer Academy, against the current benefits that the facility provides to the wider community, including its regular existing users.

“In this case, the wider community has expressed a large amount of support for the facility to remain under council ownership.

“As a result of this and other factors, a decision notice was issued to the Blantyre Soccer Academy refusing their request for the community asset transfer of the Jock Stein facility in Hamilton.”

Blantyre Soccer Academy is currently located at the community hub on Birch Place in Blantyre.

The soccer academy can appeal the decision by notifying the council of their intentions before December 15.

The academy is considering the decision not to grant the community asset transfer and plan to respond to the council soon.

The Jock Stein Sports Facility is currently used by locals and has a gym with a fitness studio, a sports hall with badminton and basketball courts and outdoor pitches.

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