Watchdog investigates East Dunbartonshire-Celtic deal

Celtic's Lennoxtown training centre
Celtic's Lennoxtown training centre

A financial watchdog is investigating whether the people of East Dunbartonshire are getting value for money from the council’s investment in Celtic’s training ground at Lennoxtown.

The £8.5 million training centre, in the grounds of the former Lennox Castle Hospital, is available to the public once a week and at times over the summer.

Audit Scotland has confirmed that it has received a number of letters of complaint, thought to be about whether the spend represents value for money.

The deal was originally set up by the Lennoxtown Inititative, made up of NHS Glasgow and East Dunbartonshire Council.

Both the local council and the health board say they are happy to provide information and co-operate with any investigation.

Local auditors will now be examining the contracts between all parties to see if there are any grounds for complaint.

A spokesman for Audit Scotland said: “We have received several letters on this subject. As such, we have a team of local auditors who are making enquiries into this matter.”

Thomas Glen, director of development and regeneration at East Dunbartonshire Council, said, “East Dunbartonshire Council is a partner on the Lennoxtown Initiative which had a Service Level Agreement with Celtic Football Club to allow for community access to the Lennoxtown facility.

“The council provided £68,377.20 in September 2013 to support the delivery of this agreement.

“We fully support Audit Scotland in any responsible monitoring of the public pound.”

A spokeskman for NHSGGC said: ‘‘At no time has NHSGGC made any payments to Celtic Football Club.

‘‘In 2006 Celtic Football Club purchased a portion of land of the former Lennox Castle Hospital Site from NHSGGC for the construction of a sports and training facility.

‘‘We are aware that Audit Scotland are looking into this matter and have supplied them with all the relevant information that they have asked for.

‘‘Full details of the sale of this land and the robustness of the process have been published on our website and can be viewed by clicking on the following link http://www.nhsggc.org.uk/about-us/freedom-of-information-foi/sale-of-land-at-former-lennox-castle-hospital-lennoxtown/

The Herald was unable to contact anyone from Celtic FC for comment.