PLANS to build a state-of-the-art athletics facility in Renfrewshire have taken a step forward after councillors backed transferring land to a local club. 

More than 4000sqm of land will be transferred to Kilbarchan Amateur Athletics Club (AAC) as part of a Community Asset Transfer to progress plans for a £1.3million indoor facility.

The plans would allow year-round training and be built alongside the outdoor track and field facilities at Linwood’s On-X sports centre.

Proposals for the centre include a 60m running track, a pole vault, indoor throwing cage, and a strength and conditioning area. 

Two of the clubs most high-profile members are Olympians Callum and Derek Hawkins who represented Great Britain in the Marathon at the 2016 Rio Olympics – with Callum finishing in 9th place.

Jim Goudie, Kilbarchan AAC Immediate Past President, said: “This development would offer us the opportunity to train in any weather, all-year-round, and make the On-X Centre a complete facility for elite and club athletes in Renfrewshire.

“We want to bring as many people we can into athletics and having this indoor facility will give people the chance to take up the sport, while keeping younger athletes from becoming disheartened with training sessions cancelled or in the pouring rain.

The Gazette: Derek and Callum Hawkins (credit Kilbarchan AAC)Derek and Callum Hawkins (credit Kilbarchan AAC)

“We’ve had four Olympians pass through our club so far and we want to give our members the best possible chance to follow in their footsteps - and this facility would do just that.”

In addition to the transfer of the land lease, the project has been allocated £500,000 by Renfrewshire Council to support the development which will provide facilities for both elite and club runners across Renfrewshire.

Councillor Iain Nicolson, Renfrewshire Council Leader, said: “We’re committed to providing opportunities for local groups and residents to make a positive difference to where they live, and the Community Asset Transfer process is one of a number of ways that communities can make their mark.

“The approval of this land transfer will allow Kilbarchan AAC to advance these exciting proposals and the successful completion of the development would significantly enhance the quality of the athletics training facilities available in Renfrewshire.

“The club have a varied membership of both elite and club level athletes and the new facility would not only support the club’s continued development and success, it would also encourage more new members to take up a healthy lifestyle and get involved in sport.”

Scottish Athletics have identified the proposal as an important project within the National Facilities Strategy- which aims to provide athletics with numerous top-class facilities throughout the country to maximise participation and increase standards of performance in all disciplines.

The Gazette: Cllr Iain Nicolson said the proposals were exciting Cllr Iain Nicolson said the proposals were exciting

Head of Development for scottishathletics, Colin Hutchison, said: “We are delighted that Renfrewshire Council has agreed a Community Asset Transfer with Kilbarchan AAC. As the governing body for athletics in Scotland we are fully behind Kilbarchan’s proposed facility development at the On-X in Linwood and are excited about the opportunities it will present for the club and athletics in Renfrewshire.”