The battle for Scotland’s National Performance Centre for Sport is hotting up.
And Dundee City Council will have to fight harder for it now Perth has swooped in with its own official bid.
But proposals to place the vast centre in Camperdown Country Park have been met with mixed reactions.
Andrew Llanwarne, co-ordinator for Friends of the Earth Tayside, said the choice was ill-advised and questioned whether the benefit outweighed what would be lost.
He said: “In my own opinion, it is wrong to put these facilities in Camperdown Park.
“Camperdown is one of Dundee’s most important environmental assets. It’s a green space everyone can enjoy and get benefit from.
“Dundee is very densely populated and built up and our parks should be highly-prized resources.
“It will take up a big chunk of the park. The artificial pitches will take away the biodiversity and there is also the disturbance to wildlife and park visitors to consider.
“The idea of a large sports centre sounds great but we have to be very careful about what we’re giving up to get it.
“And the many people who do not take part in sports and whose children or grandchildren won’t use the facilities may well much rather keep the park as it is.”
Camperdown Park features within its grounds Campderdown House, the Camperdown Wildlife Centre, and, nearby there’s the Clatto reservoir, Dundee’s centre for outdoor watersports.
A council report recommended the south-east corner of the park as the most appropriate location for the sports centre. This was because of the ability to expand there in the future as a site for potential hotels, lower costs associated with building and the need for minimal disruption to existing facilities. The report also mentioned the area’s accessible location to main roads, rail and air travel.
James Crawford, of the Friends of Camperdown House group, was more positive about the proposal.
He said: “Camperdown Park is 200 acres. It should be used by the public. It will be good to have all the facilities in one place. People could come up to the house after enjoying their sports, sit down in the grounds and relax.
“I think it will be very beneficial to everyone.”
Lorna Ward, honorary secretary of the Dundee Naturalists’ Society, said: “As an individual I believe it would be good for Dundee.
“Mostly in terms of the employment it will bring and what it will do for our economy.
“It will be an excellent attraction and will be a good upgrade for the park. I’d rather Dundee got it than Perth. There are lots of red squirrels in the park. But, as long as the wildlife is accounted for, I can’t see a problem.”
But Mr Llanwarne called for more public involvement in the plans.
He said: “We need to talk about it with the people of Dundee and the council needs to disclose everything before anything is done in Camperdown Park. We need more information about the planned size and exact location of the facilities before a decision is taken.”
Ken Guild, leader of Dundee City Council administration, said: “The proposed site at Camperdown best matched the Scottish Football Association criteria. One key requirement it fulfils is privacy and seclusion for the players.
“The other thing we learned from visiting St George’s Park in Burton-on-Trent is that residents’ accommodation is very important and we are able on this particular site to include it.
“Camperdown is also owned by the council which means there are no complications with private owners.”