Highland Games event under threat as development work affects venue


Organizers of one of the main celebrations of traditional Scottish culture in Ayrshire have warned that this year’s extravaganza may not take place unless issues with the venue are resolved immediately.

The Dundonald Highland Games are usually held each summer at the Dundonald Playing Grounds in the shadow of Dundonald Castle. This year’s event is scheduled for August 6th.

However, conditions at the site have cast doubt on the centrepiece, as organizers say construction work has rendered the land unsuitable for use.

The work involved is the landscaping and resurfacing of playgrounds, a project of the Dundonald Community Sports, Recreation and Heritage Association (DCHRCA).

A games spokesperson said: “We have asked both DCHRCA and South Ayrshire Council to urgently rectify the issues and have outlined the implications of their failure to do so.

“It would be very disappointing if the Dundonald Highland Games were permanently canceled due to development work being undertaken without planning permission.”

The developments, which were carried out last year, are the subject of a retrospective planning application.

Councilor Arthur Spurling, Administrator of DCHRCA, submitted the application, stating that work had been undertaken without permission, as DCHRCA had been advised that they were “only improving the facility and planning permission n was therefore not necessary”.

The Games organizers added: “We have no grievances or problems with the applicants, or with the amateur football club Troon Dundonald, who wish to make the playing fields their playground.

“We welcome projects of this type which aim to improve the quality of local facilities and encourage sporting activity in our community.

“We hope that an amicable resolution can be reached that will allow a multitude of users to enjoy the playgrounds, and all of our community organizations and events to prosper.

Stuart Urquhart, Chairman of DCHRCA, said: “We have worked and are currently working with South Ayrshire Council and their partners, the Ayrshire Road Alliance, to get work on the ground restarted, having been asked to submit a retrospective planning application. despite being initially stated that no planning permission was required.

“After the bid was submitted, DCSRHA continued to engage with the Games Committee to keep them updated on the progress of the field.

“We also hope to hold a new meeting imminently. We want games to be able to play out like they did in the past. »

A council spokesperson said: ‘We are happy to provide DCSRHA or its contractor with advice on how the condition of the playing field could be improved, but we are no longer responsible for its upkeep. Any representation will be considered part of the application.

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Jennifer R. Strohm