There is hope for the future of historic Rob Roy Football Club after planning permission was granted for a multi- million pound sports development.
The Herald revealed earlier this year that the club, founded in 1878, may be forced to fold if a new home stadium is not found.
Permission for the £3 million purpose-built sports pitch and community building at Donaldson Street in the town has been granted by East Dunbartonshire Council subject to a string of conditions.
Rob Roy FC General Secretary Charlie O’Brien told the Herald he is crossing his fingers a replacement for the club’s former home turf at Adamslie Park, which closed in 2014, is now in sight.
But he added: “We’ve been here before. I will be happy when I see the first brick being laid.
“My message to East Dunbartonshire Council is ‘let’s get this development built’.”
“Rob Roy has not had a park for the past four years. We simply cannot go on without one.
“This club has been part of the community for 140 years but it’s such a strain having to find money all the time for buses to travel to shared pitches to play matches and for wages.
“It has been a frustrating time. We don’t want this dragging on any further.
“We have plans in motion to set up a ladies football club.
“The longer this goes on, the less likely this will be.”
The application for a single storey community sports facility with a full size 3G pitch, multi-purpose sports pitch, community building with changing facilities and associated car and bus parking will be delivered in phases.
Other groups would also benefit, from football to cycling, taekwondo, shinty and gymnastics.
East Dunbartonshire Council received a total of 11 letters of support for the development and zero objections.
Supporters included Strathkelvin MSP Rona Mackay, Kirkintilloch East MP Stuart McDonald and East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson.
The council’s planning authority granted permission subject to conditions including flood mitigation measures, a scheme to deal with contamination on the site and a habitat survey.
Rabs have been hit with a series of setbacks since plans originally began for new grounds over a decade ago..
The club has now started its fourth season sharing away from their historic home in the town. They have lodged with local rivals Cumbernauld since the closure of Adamslie Park in 2014.
Local MSP Rona Mackay said: “What Rob Roy FC has gone through and the financial burden it has had to pay in this long, drawn out and painful stretch of its rich legacy is totally unacceptable.
“I am right behind the club on this final hurdle. Let us hope it is actually the final hurdle.”
Senior planning officers granted permission a few weeks ago providing the 10 separate conditions are met.
They agreed the plans will “provide a long-term home to the local club and wider community benefits at a sustainable location.”
Rob Roy is one of Scotland’s oldest junior football clubs and winners of the Scottish Junior Cup on several occasions.