St Andrews Uni facility closure – response from Scottish Athletics

Friday 25th November 2022

Spikes on track

scottishathletics are aware of the announcement made by the University of St Andrews on Thursday 24 November that they will not replace their 400m track with a like-for-like facility.

This was the preferred proposal put forward by scottishathletics, Fife AC, University of St. Andrews Athletics and Cross-Country Club and other community stakeholders.

scottishathletics, and the local athletics clubs, are extremely disappointed in the outcome of the consultation and by various inaccuracies published in the announcement online here.

Responding on our behalf, chief executive Colin Hutchison and Chair David Ovens issued the following statement:

‘The announcement (by the University) asserted that scottishathletics has ‘a statutory responsibility and receives budget for the provision of sports facilities for the public good‘ and further that ‘there was an expectation the University should fully fund this entirely on its own.’

‘We can confirm that this statement is factually incorrect and that scottishathletics does not receive any budget for the provision of sports facilities for the public good.

‘In this respect, the role of scottishathletics as a governing body is to help to identify and facilitate funding.

Colin Hutchison (on left, photo by Bobby Gavin) 

‘Further, scottishathletics stated in writing to the University of St Andrews that whilst we do not have budget to invest in facility developments, we did not expect the University to fund the replacement entirely on their own.

‘We outlined our expectation that the University of St Andrews work with a coalition of local and national partners (including other sports set to benefit from the development) to put a funding proposal together that would deliver the facility.

‘During the consultation period, which was only initiated following pressure from the local community, scottishathletics and the local athletics clubs clearly stated our position that the preferred option for athletics was the replacement of the existing track in its current location.

‘The athletics community have been clear with the University of St Andrews in consultation meetings, and in a joint position paper, that other proposed options do not meet the requirements for athletics. The consultation therefore does not appear to have had any impact on the original decision to permanently close the track.

‘Whilst we acknowledge that a 500m floodlit jogging trail will be useful for general physical activity, it will not meet the requirements of aspiring athletes.

‘We welcome the University’s commitment to supporting the development of a new 400-metre track serving North-East Fife.

‘However, any new facility is likely to require an investment approximately three times what would be required to replace the existing track. This makes any prospect of delivering a new facility in the short to medium term highly unlikely.

‘We will continue to work with the local athletics clubs and partners to support the development of the sport and explore other facility options in North-East Fife.’

Colin Hutchison and David Ovens 

David Ovens, our Chair (photo by Bobby Gavin)


Tags: Colin Hutchison, David Ovens, St Andrews

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