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Go-ahead for first Highland games centre

The organisers of the Braemar Gathering are celebrating after Scotland's first Highland games centre was given the go-ahead by planning officials.

The Braemar Royal Highland Society is to push ahead with a hall to celebrate the country's historic sporting heritage in the Royal Deeside village.

The annual event attracts the biggest crowds of the Highland games season and is attended by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. The late Diana, Princess of Wales, and former prime minister Tony Blair have also watched the competitions from the royal enclosure.

Plans to build a new grandstand and visitor centre were approved by the Cairngorms National Park Authority planning committee yesterday.

The new building will replace the west stand which looks on to the Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park.

The proposals include plans to build eight affordable homes in nearby Ballater.

Board member Brian Wood said: "The Braemar Highland Games are known the world over and attract visitors from far and wide.

"To be able to offer improved facilities that can be accessed all the year round, not just on games day, will be very beneficial to the whole community."

Braemar Royal Highland Charity secretary Willie Meston said: "We are delighted the plans are approved. It has been a long wait to get to that point and now we can start moving."

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