Joy as hall project clears final hurdle

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Plans for a new community hall at Newmachar have taken a major step forward after councillors approved funding of £380,000.

Newmachar Community Hall Association (NCHA) has been raising money for the £1.2 million project for a number of years.

The group wants to build a modern, fit-for-purpose community facility for the village which has expanded rapidly over the last decade and continues to grow.

Additional funding of £380,000, which will help to secure time-limited funding from LEADER and SportScotland, and will allow the hall to be constructed, was approved by Aberdeenshire Council’s policy and resources committee on Thursday.

The money is comprised of a “soft loan” of up to £182,000 from the Education, Learning & Leisure Service, and £198,000 from the Six Key Areas for Development earmarked reserve.

Committee vice-chair, Cllr Martin Kitts-Hayes, said: “I think this is a fantastic project. There has been a very strong drive from the local community to see this project come together.

“It is a great example of how a local community can identify a need locally and drive that need forward without relying on the council to get up and running.”

Fellow committee member, Cllr Fergus Hood, said: “This is indeed a historical day for the community of Newmachar.

“The Newmachar community has grown greatly over the last 20 or 30 years and facilities have not kept pace. I’m sure this will be welcomed by the community.”

The new Newmachar Community Hall will include sports and recreation facilities, a community hub and could provide a base for NHS outreach clinics.

The NCHA has already secured around £1 million towards the project, including £95,000 of local fundraising.

The contract for building the hall was put out to tender in January 2013.