Turriff Haughs Feasibility and Options Study
This report was commissioned by Turriff and District Ltd (TDL) from Yellow Book Ltd with WMUD. TDL is a private company with charitable status whose principal objective is to enhance the prosperity of Turriff and the surrounding area, by involving the community and lobbying the appropriate agencies. Sub-groups of TDL include Turriff Tourism Action Group and Turriff Town Pride Group. The study was been funded by Scottish Enterprise.
The brief called for a feasibility study into the long term economic potential of the Turriff Haughs. Although the Haughs is used by residents and visitors for a range of activities, TDL believes that the area is under-utilised. The study was intended to identify and appraise a range of options for the site, focusing on activities which will attract more people to the Haugh and generate expenditure on local goods and services. Our key conclusions and recommendations were that Turriff Haughs is an attractive site in an excellent location, and it is a highly valued community asset. However, local residents are disappointed with some aspects of the Haughs including poor maintenance and anti-social behaviour, poor ground conditions, dull planting and a lack of facilities.
TDL’s aspirations for the Haughs are consistent with policy on planning, economic development and tourism, but the site is a Protected Area, which means that there will have to be a compelling case for built development on the Haughs. The site currently serves three principal functions: town park, showground and events venue. As a town park, the site is popular and well-used but it does not fulfil its potential. The Show is successful and has an enduring appeal, but some aspects of the event need to be upgraded or refreshed. The site has potential as an events venue, but is underused and the demands of the Show constrain the use of the site for other events.
Agricultural associations throughout the UK have diversified and innovated: site ownership is not a pre-requisite for innovation, but some associations that do own their sites have invested in all-weather facilities. Community development trusts are playing an increasingly prominent role: many communities have used trusts as a vehicle for developing and operating new facilities.
We have recommended early action to make the Haughs a great town park including:
- an improvement plan for the Haughs
- creation of a green and open space network
- consideration of the case for forming a community trust to develop and manage the Haughs
We have recommended early action, through a partnership between TDL and TDAA to build on the success of Turriff Show which includesagreeing a 5-year development plan for the show and developing an opportunities programme to ensure that local businesses benefit from the show.
We carried out a detailed options appraisal for the events programme; we recommend that TDL should proceed on the assumption that the Haughs is suitable for outdoor events only, although this may change in the future. In addition, the Haughs is a suitable and attractive site for a range of outdoor event types and we have developed an illustrative events programme
The case for an all-weather facility is not a stand-alone issue; it needs to be considered in the context of the community’s requirement for modern meeting place. We believe that, ideally, the facility should be in a central location, although the Haughs cannot be discounted: TDL and the Community Council need to reach agreement on a preferred location, and then work together to deliver it.
We have indicated that implementing these recommendations will have significant resource implications, and we have highlighted some of the potential funding sources. Whether or not TDL decides to pursue a community development trust, the recommendations contained in this report are only deliverable if the partners can demonstrate community ownership and commitment.