East Dunbartonshire Council has given the green light for work to finally start on the Kirkintilloch Community Sports Complex on the vacant brownfield development site to the west of Park Burn.
Work is expected to start next month and take 12 months to complete.
The club – desperate to return home from exile in Cumbernauld after leaving Adamslie Park seven years ago – had anticipated being given the option of a 25-year lease to operate the facility, using it as a base for the club to develop but also delivering facilities, sporting and social, for the wider community.
Earlier this year, council depute chief executive Thomas Glen said: “The council continues to liaise with Kirkintilloch Rob Roy to support the project, which is being led by the club.”
But whoever runs the centre will now be determined by a council marketing exercise which could place the club in competition with other potential operators.
The council announcement made no mention of Rob Roy despite previous indications that it expected the club to play a key role in the new facility.
Rob Roy manager Stewart Maxwell says he is no doubt the club’s involvement in the complex is crucial to its survival.
He said: “I’ ve done a lot of work on the infrastructure with boys’ clubs, mental health, local organisations and schools to help this be a community project.
"I’ ve always said it’s a project for the community but we’ve made big plans on the assumption that we’ ll be part of that.
"If Rob Roy aren't involved, then it’ s over for the club. We can’ t keep playing at Cumbernauld."
Rob Roy president Neil Anderson said: “Council officials had to meet a deadline for the construction contract so as to avoid incurring further costs. Brexit, the pandemic and shortage of materials has hit all projects, not just this one.
"It was not possible to conclude all the legal documentation for a deal with the club before signing the construction contract.
After taking external advice, council officials decided it was better to undertake a marketing exercise for the operation of the facility.”