A Glenrothes youth football organiser claims the town will be left without a state-of-the-art pitch despite two major developments.
Brian Dickson is disappointed that neither the new sports centre, or a high school will have a full-sized 3G artificial grass surface, leaving local players without the kind of facilities available in other large towns.
The Rothes Juniors chief, who is also vice-chairman of Central and East Fife Soccer Sevens Association, has drawn-up a report on provision of suitable all-weather football facilities and has raised the issue with Fife Council. He explained: “In September, I discovered that the all-weather surface at Fife Institute had been specified as suitable for National League hockey, that is sand-dressed.
“I also discovered that the new Auchmuty re-build was to supply a sand-dressed artificial surface. So although the new Institute is providing three five-a-side and one seven-a-side football-specific 3G surfaces, Glenrothes is not to have a full-size one. “
Mr Dickson pointed out that the type of artificial pitch envisioned was described as “an unhappy compromise” by Sportscotland and would not provide suitable training and match facilities for clubs, where he estimates around 2000 adults and children are playing football regularly.
He also calculated that the costs of providing a suitable surface at either the new sports centre, or Auchmuty could range from £50,000 to £800,000, but as the surfaces planned have a ‘life’ of eight years, it is unlikely they will be replaced before then unless action is taken now.
“This would be unacceptable and would put Glenrothes behind the rest of Fife in terms of football-specific, all-weather facilities,” he explained “I have been campaigning to the council to have the specifications changed at either the new Institute or Auchmuty.”
Sports partnership manager, Andy MacLellan, said the currently under construction centre will include a wide range of services and facilities to meet the wider community needs.
He added: “As part of the development, an extensive range of outdoor pitches will be provided, which includes one football specific 3G 60x40m synthetic turf pitch suitable for football club training, three football-specific 3G 40x20m STPs, suitable for casual and football training.
“The extensive outdoor provision also includes a full-size sand dressed synthetic turf pitch, suitable for national league hockey matches and recreational football. Rothes Juniors FC and Glenrothes Strollers FC will both be given priority booking rights for the seven-a-side STP, a facility which will be ideal for training purposes. Additionally, there are four recently refurbished grass football pitches on the site suitable for football league matches. The provision of a National League hockey pitch was a priority within Fife Council’s sports facilities strategy and will address the complete lack of a national league standard hockey pitch in Fife, a position supported by both Scottish Hockey and sportscotland and reflected in the level of funding support received from the latter.”