Pitch aid rejected as it ‘could lead to more groups demanding help’

Midlothian councillors voted not to approve a motion by cllr Kelly Parry.

Pitch aid rejected as it ‘could lead to more groups demanding help’ LDRS

Calls for an all-weather football pitch in a Midlothian town have been rejected amid concern it could ‘lead to more communities demanding help’.

Midlothian councillors voted not to approve a motion by cllr Kelly Parry for her local club to be given help after it posted images of a waterlogged pitch which saw games suspended.

Instead, they backed an amendment agreeing to carry out a fresh review of all sports facilities across the region.

Councillor Parry urged fellow elected members to back her call for proposals to create an all-weather 11-a-side pitch for the Loanhead club to be brought forward.

She praised the club for its inclusivity and work in the community, adding they had been lobbying for years for a pitch that is fit for purpose.

And she accused the council’s Labour administration of “kicking” the issue “into the long grass”.

The virtual meeting of the council heard that a review of sports facilities across the county was produced in 2016 and highlighted the need for an artificial pitch in Loanhead, however no progress had been made.

Loanhead Miners Youth Football Club shared images of their pitch on Twitter two weeks ago, showing it waterlogged and unplayable.

Councillor Parry’s motion was backed by fellow councillor Debbi McCall.

However, councillor John Hackett proposed an amendment which would see all sports facilities reviewed again rather than singling out Loanhead.

He said: “It (the motion) could bring forward successive motions from other areas that need improvement, Mayfield and Easthouses need improvements.”

He added that he did not disagree with the sentiment of the motion, but added: “There are other communities equally deserving of this investment, I think it is unfair to pick one community over others.”

And councillor Stephen Curran backed councillor Hackett’s amendment, saying he was not comfortable with the “localism” of the motion.

However, councillor Parry made no apology for bringing the motion on behalf of her community.

She said: “The community is frustrated to be told we will do this and that and it just never happens.”

Fellow Midlothian West councillor Russell Imrie told the meeting he was “disappointed” councillor Parry had not contacted him over the motion and instead had it seconded by a fellow SNP councillor presenting it as an SNP group motion.

However, he was told fellow councillor Pauline Winchester (Cons) had been willing to second the motion but time restraints stopped that.

Councillor Colin Cassidy defended any suggestion the motion was political, saying: “Councillor Parry is not trying to make a political point here, she is fighting for her community.”

Both councillors Imrie and Winchester voted for the amendment to review all sports facilities which defeated the motion by nine votes to seven.

By local democracy reporter Marie Sharp

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