Bearsden and Milngavie Highland Games cancelled due to Waitrose work

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There will be NO Highland games in Bearsden and Milngavie this year - due to construction work on the new Waitrose store.

Organisers have failed to find an alternative venue for the popular event, meaning that it has to be cancelled.

The games have been held at West of Scotland’s Burnbrae ground for more than 40 years, and every summer made cash for charity.

However, starting in April, Town Centre Securities (TCS) will begin to develop part of West’s land for the new Waitrose.

Games organiser Alan Oliver said: “Following the huge success of last year’s free to enter Bearsden and Milngavie Highland Games, it is with much regret that we have to announce the cancellation of this year’s event.

“We apologise, but we have just received absolute confirmation that Waitrose, who have purchased a section of the ground we use from the West of Scotland rugby club, are commencing building their new supermarket in April, and therefore we have neither sufficient area to stage the event, nor proper access to the site due to the ongoing building works.

“We have tried to find a suitable alternative site but unfortunately there are none available or suitable.

“We are assured that the work will be finished in time for the 2015 event and we look forward to working with our charity partner Funding Neuro and many valued contributors to make the Bearsden and Milngavie Highland Games in 2015 the most successful ever.

David Donkin of TCS, which has an agreement with West to lease the land on which the new Waitrose will be built and will, in turn, lease it to Waitrose on a 25 year basis, confirmed that while there is – as yet – no firm construction timetable for the new Waitrose and all-weather pitch, preparatory and ground works have already started.

He said: “West of Scotland RFC were unable to give a guarantee that the areas usually used for the Highland games would be available and that is why the organisers took a decision to cancel this year’s games.

“We fully understand that the cancellation of this year’s games will be disappointing to many local people. Planning consent for the Waitrose development and the replacement, all-weather pitch was granted last April and we’ve been working hard since then towards a start on site.

“This means that parts of West’s grounds will be out of action and as such, we fully understand why the organisers, who were unable to find an alternative site for this year’s games, have had to cancel.”