Council agree to make artificial pitch a 'priority' after campaign

The existing grass pitch is rendered unplayable for much of the winter due to drainage issues.

Campaign for artificial pitch in Bishopton moves forward as council make facility a ‘priority’ iStock

A campaign for a new artificial pitch in a Renfrewshire village has taken a stride forward after the council agreed to make it a priority.

The existing grass pitch, known locally as Top Park, is rendered unplayable for much of the winter due to drainage issues – sparking calls from Bishopton Football Club for an all-weather facility.

Their teams are left with no choice but to travel elsewhere to train or fulfil matches, leading to the issue being raised at the final full council meeting of the year on Thursday.

Councillor James MacLaren, a Conservative rep for Bishopton, urged members to back calls for a 3G or 4G pitch for the area, which has seen demand grow as a result of the Dargavel Village development.

He said: “It’s been fantastic to see the expansion of teams within Bishopton Football Club and that is testament to those involved within the club.

“However, the one football pitch they have in Bishopton is often unplayable, so home games are usually played away from home.

“With the number of teams and players at the club, that often involves them having to travel outwith the area, sometimes outwith Renfrewshire, or not playing at all.

“That is simply unacceptable considering we should be doing all we can to promote active and healthy lifestyles.”

Council leader Iain Nicolson, who recently met with club reps, confirmed the concerns had been taken on board.

He said: “We’ve no hesitation in taking this on as a priority for this council.

“It’s all part of the mix and discussions going on just now with regards to the provision of leisure facilities for the Dargavel/Bishopton area.

“The message has been loud and clear as far as we’re concerned, with regards to the council’s role in trying to provide the facilities that the community – given the scale of it now – needs to be in place for them.”

Councillor Nicolson said the club’s voice had been heard, before adding: “It is a priority piece of work for this council to bring forward proposals and support the football club and others out there to deliver the services that they rightly feel they should have.”

Bishopton FC has 18 teams, across both adult and youth sections, with 487 registered players.

Reflecting on Thursday’s decision, club chairman George Morrison said: “It’s absolutely what we wanted to hear and it’s good to get that support from the council.

“The size of the club’s grown significantly because of the Dargavel development and that’s the justification for needing a pitch.

“The impact will be massive because teams have to go and train all over the place. They’re going to Port Glasgow, Clydebank, even to Dumbarton, into Paisley, to try and get training facilities.

“We’ve got to a point now where we’re actually turning people away. We can’t actually accommodate the demand for places.

“If we’ve got a pitch that we can use locally for training and matches that’s going to allow us to sustain the teams that we’ve got and grow and expand further still.

“It’s desperately needed and it’s what we really want.”

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