0 Football club hopes to lease council pitches to develop home ground

A football club could take over the running of grass pitches in Newton Mearns to develop a home ground. St Cadoc's Youth Club wants to rent Crookfur playing fields from East Renfrewshire Council.

It has plans to build two artificial pitches on the land, a council officer revealed.

Andy Cahill, East Renfrewshire's environment director, said a 25-year lease, at £1 per year, is proposed.

He added the minimal rent would allow the football club to direct money towards developing the site.

Annually, the council makes £4200 from renting the pitches but the upkeep is around £13,000. If a lease is agreed, the football club would take over the responsibility for the maintenance.

Council leader Tony Buchanan said: "We're extremely fortunate in East Renfrewshire that we do have three quality clubs that deliver health and wellbeing for all of our children and many adults as well.

"I think that's testament to the area that we have. We equally know that the pressure on the pitches we have across the authority, and they are numerous, is extremely tight. We would encourage the community to take ownership when they can in order to ensure those clubs continue to grow and provide those services."

A new pavilion, with four changing rooms, was recently built by the council as part of a nursery development in Crookfur Park.

The changing rooms are in the same building as the nursery but can be secured to allow exclusive use by teams using the pitches.

St Cadoc's - which has over 750 registered players - currently gets priority booking of the pitch at Eastwood High School.

Mr Cahill has proposed transferring changing room lets to East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Trust to "compensate" for any potential losses incurred if St Cadoc's no longer rents the pitch.

The council is legally required to advertise the proposal, allowing any objections to be made. However, this will not happen before May's Scottish Parliament elections.

Building two artificial pitches would require planning permission from the council - and the club would need to secure funds for the work.

A council report stated: "Grass pitches by their nature offer less playing time through condition and natural elements than artificial pitches and incur more revenue costs in terms of maintenance.

"The construction of artificial pitches is however a significant capital costs and the council has diminishing capital reserves available and other priorities to consider. There is an opportunity within this proposal to offset revenue costs and to enhance local sports provision through partnership working with a local club."

Barrhead Youth Football Club has previously received council funds for a pitch and changing rooms at Cowan Park and Giffnock Soccer Centre got money for a pitch in Eastwood Park.

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