No ‘Vale threat over park, despite residents’ concerns

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AN AMATEUR football side has quashed rumours it is set to fence off one of only two football pitches in a Levenmouth village.

Residents and community groups in Windygates contacted the Mail this week to express their concern over news Eastvale AFC had submitted a proposal to Fife Council, asking for a 25-year lease of one of two football pitches at the village’s Greig Park.

They feared if Eastvale have control of the pitch, it could be fenced off – leaving the community with only one accessible area to play football and only limited space to host events such as the Windygates Gala.

‘Vale, of the Kingdom Caledonian FA League, confirmed to the Mail it has applied for the lease to the local authority in January – but denied it wanted to fence it off, leaving it unavailable for the rest of the community to use.

The club showed the Mail its full plan, which revealed a fence would not be put up around the pitch and the club would only be taking over its maintenance, with the whole of Greig Park still being available for use by the community.

A spokesman for the club, which also has an under-19 side, said: “The pitch is used by an amateur team and an under-19 team and we are seeking to improve the playing facilities and working closely with Fife Council to that end.

The strain on the playing surface, coupled with the financial restraints on Fife Council resources, have led us to the point where we, as a club, are in a better position to look after the surface. To this end, we need to have a lease.

“The document submitted to Fife Council will form the main part of the lease. If successful, the club will be legally bound to comply with this document and its component parts, with no deviations unless revised by Fife Council.

“This means, as stated in the document, there will be no fence erected round the playing surface, which seems to be of great concern to a number of individuals.”

Eastvale showed the Mail its full plan after the paper contacted the club following a meeting in Windygates last Wednesday, where around 30 members of the community attended to hear the club’s plan from David Patterson, Fife Council locality manager.

Afterwards, Councillor David Alexander, chair of the Levenmouth area committee, told the Mail he also issued a leaflet to residents last week informing them of the proposal.

He added: “The council officials were there to listen to the views of the community. I’ve no doubt at all they will be putting together all the responses they got and be putting a report to the councillors.

“There are mixed views but, until the views of the consultation are put together, I can’t comment any more.”

Cllr Alexander did add the benefit to the council would be a small saving in money for maintenance which, multiplied over the 25-year term of the lease, would add up.

As well as providing its own goalposts and taking over the cutting, lining and seeding of one of the pitches, Eastvale would like to build a footpath from the car park to its changing rooms which were built in 2008.

The spokesman added a number of other amateur teams in the area, including Leven United, had similar arrangements with Fife Council, and pitch two would still be available for other clubs, such as Greig Park Rangers, to hire from the local authority.