Community users get on board with Mossfield project

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Ambitious plans to build Oban’s own field of dreams are moving forward.

First muted in December 2019, the Mossfield Project aims to bring the town’s sports and events communities together by upgrading facilities around the town with an end goal of redeveloping the current Mossfield site to bring it up to national standards.

Following a lot of hard work by stakeholders during lockdown, Mossfield – Oban’s Sports and Events Stadium (MOSES) became a Community Interest Company (CIC) in November last year and short term goals are already being met by the clubs involved.

A steering group consisting of Murray Hamilton, Oban High School/Oban Lorne RFC; Les Kinvig, Regional Shinty Development Officer; Andy Spence, BID4Oban, and Neil MacKay, chairman of Oban Tourism Group, is driving the idea forward feeding into a wider user group.

Speaking at the group’s first meeting since 2019 last Wednesday, chairman Murray Hamilton said: ‘At our original meeting there was a general feeling of disgruntlement among all of the users that the potential of the current facilities was not being met.

‘Mossfield will be the centrepiece but other sites were singled out as areas for concern such as the Glen, Ganavan and North Connel which have all been identified as not fit for purpose and are part of the community infrastructure plan.

‘This whole project will bring benefits way beyond sport. We are asking everyone to be part of the solution not the problem and so far it has proved popular and well received. I look forward to the next stage.’

Donald McAllister, Lochnell Football Club, told The Oban Times: ‘We are excited that the MOSES project extends beyond Oban and that the project’s scope includes the prospect of facilities being provided at the pitch at North Connel, home of Lochnell Football Club.

‘The pitch is the most used grass pitch in the Oban area for training and games. It is used for football, shinty and rugby but lacks any sort of changing and toilet accommodation, which limits its use, particularly when hosting away teams for matches.

‘By working together as a sporting community, we have a better chance of securing the infrastructure the area needs as youth participation in sport continues to increase across Oban and Lorn.’

Oban Saints secretary Davie Buchanan added: ‘The project is vital if facilities are to improve at the main sporting and event venues of Mossfield Stadium, Glen 1, 2, 3, Ganavan and North Connel.

‘There are 14 user groups on board at present and everyone seems to be singing from the same hymn sheet which is vital if the project is to succeed.’

While users agreed things wouldn’t happen overnight, short, mid and long term aims have been laid out including security fencing, improved changing rooms and toilets, an easier booking system and possibly another 4G playing surface.

BID4Oban chief executive Andy Spence said: ‘The pandemic has made us all realise the importance of having outdoor facilities that are fit for many purposes.

‘There is a huge opportunity to upgrade the facilities at Mossfield and surrounding area to ensure future generations can make even better use of them.

‘There is also the possibility that where infrastructure improvements are made that other events and sports will be attracted to use the area.’

A business plan and feasibility study are being worked on with the help of solicitor Liam McDermid, senior associate at DM Mackinnon Solicitors. Decisions on funding will be made once the areas for improvements are costed and the resource implications for the council are clear.

Photograph (Mossfield-Stadium-1.jpg) should be in March 30 2020 d-photos folder