Park, Playing Field & Public Toilets
The playing field is a large open space with views all the way to the North Sea. Its facilities include:
- Football pitch
- Double all-weather tennis court
- Pay equipment (climbing frame/slides/swings/round-about)
- Public Toilets
- Picnic Benches with metal BBQ plates
The playing field has had a very interesting history. An area of ground, from the present site behind the cottages to the Tealing Road, was gifted to the community by the Earl of Airlie in 1948. As this was a sloping site, an arrangement was made with the Wallace Family, the owners of the adjacent land to rotate the site east to west on flat ground. This was done in 1958 by Deed of Excambion.
The charity Fields in Trust (FiT) was established in 1932 and is a Trustee of the King George’s Fields Foundation. The Foundation was established as a Memorial to the late King George V by Trust Deed on 3rd November 1936. The objects of the Trust were "to promote and to assist in the establishment throughout the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of Playing Fields for the use and enjoyment of the people every such Playing Field to be styled ‘King George’s Field’ and to be distinguished by heraldic panels or other appropriate tablet medallion or inscription commemorative of the King".
Auchterhouse Park (as it is generally known), has protected status under an early FiT scheme, so appears to be one of two in Angus which were established at an early stage. This needs further investigation to establish the full history.
Fields in Trust do not fund the maintenance of their playing fields. A local management committee oversaw the maintenance of the Park but this was transferred to Dundee City Council in 1978. This included a waiver by the National Playing Fields in 1981. The Park at that time had a large pavilion which was a huge asset until lack of investment by the Council resulted in it being removed for “safety” reasons. This caused some anger as a local group had already worked hard to install electricity and were working on installing water and showers to support an enthusiastic village football team. The community was promised a new pavilion but with the local authority re-organisation, Angus Council took over responsibility for the Park without agreement or commitment on the pavilion. They have maintained the Park and have in recent years installed new play features and picnic benches.
A local group called Active (Auchterhouse Community Taking Initiative in Village Enhancement), set about fundraising for a tennis court and one was successfully installed in June 2009. Two local members in the village have recently begun efforts to establish a tennis club to ensure more frequent use of the court.
The Park has a small toilet block which the Council looked after. However, recent financial constraints led the Council to offer the community the opportunity to take over the maintenance of the toilets, otherwise they might be closed. The Community Council agreed to take on the job and with funding from the Council, have been able to oversee a very successful group of young volunteers who take turns to clean the toilets for a small reward.
The next chapter in the history could be in the making, as the local Sports Day group have expressed an interest in taking back the Park into community ownership. This is at a very early stage but would enable the community to invest in new play equipment and generally improve the character and facilities of the Park. The park hosts the annual Auchterhouse Sports Day event every August housing the huge marquee for the day time activities and ceilidh in the evening.