A campaign to retain Stonehaven’s beach pavilion for use by local sports groups has intensified.
The future of the building has remained uncertain after Aberdeenshire Council declared it “surplus to requirements” last year.
An online petition launched recently by Stonehaven Judo Club instructor Stuart Sim has been supported by more than 1400 people.
It states that the town already struggles to service the needs of its sporting and recreational groups.
The petition says: “The alternative venues suggested by the council in April are unsuitable for various reasons including lack of space, lack of available hours, clashing with other users.”
Stonehaven and District Men’s Shed is at the final stage of a community asset transfer of the pavilion, which was approved by the the council’s area committee in November.
Mr Sim, who has run the judo club – formed in 1981 -–since 2012, fears for its future.
He said: “We are being forced out of town.
“There’s nowhere else for us to meet.”
Mr Sim described alternative venues offered to him by the council as “a waste of time”.
It is understood the local authority is currently arranging meetings with each group which uses the pavilion to find other suitable premises.
Kincardine and Mearns area manager Willie Munro said: “Unfortunately, Aberdeenshire Council is not in a position to maintain and run the Beach Pavilion for community use, and the building was declared surplus to requirements.
“A meeting with was held with community groups in July to discuss local interest in the future of the building, when the Stonehaven and District Men’s Shed indicated plans to lodge a Community Asset Transfer application, and this was received by the council in September.
“The transfer has been progressed over the past few months, reaching the final stage at the end of November. To date there has been only one further expression of interest, which was received in late October.
“The Men’s Shed group are to be offered some temporary space in due course that will allow them to begin repairs to the pavilion with a view to moving in when these are complete.”
He added: “We appreciate the local interest in the building but we must consider transfer applications in the order they arrive, and the lease will not be granted until we have found alternative premises for all current pavilion users.
“It is hoped there will be some capacity for local groups once the pavilion reopens, albeit not to the same extent as the previous arrangements.”