At least another year before troubled football pitches are playable

Our images in March sparked a question at Moray Council
Our images in March sparked a question at Moray Council

A COUNCIL OFFICIAL was quizzed this week over a story that appeared on the pages of insideMoray back in March.

Fochabers/Lhanbryde councillor Douglas Ross used question time at the end of the children and young people’s services committee on Wednesday to quiz Graham Jarvis, head of lifelong learning, culture and sport, over the condition of the pitches at Deanshaugh in Elgin.

It has been ten years since the playing fields were last in use with drainage problems causing ongoing issues for successive council administrations. It was expected that as a result of flood works the much-needed pitches would be brought back into use this summer – however, insideMoray revealed that ongoing problems made that target unlikely.

Councillor Ross said: “It has been over a decade since football was last played at Deanshaugh and since then we have been plagued by drainage problems. Just a couple of weeks ago there were more pictures published on the internet that showed that drainage is still a major concern on pitches that should almost be ready to be playable.”

Mr Jarvis admitted that there was an ongoing issue, telling Councillor Ross that the pitches were looking well until around two months ago, when it was decided by contractors that new vertical drains needed to be added.

The additional work rendered the pitches unplayable again and pushed back the expected reopening from August this year to August 2017.

Councillor Ross replied: “This disturbs me even further as again because of drainage we have another year long delay – the last game played on these pitches was 2005 and we are now being told they should have been completed this summer. Yet because of drainage that has been done in the last month it is going to delay them for another 12 months.

“That sounds wrong in my mind, I can’t believe that works to improve drainage would actually delay you getting on the pitch for a further year.”

He asked Mr Jarvis to find out why the remedial work was required on pitches that had not even been used yet – and why it was felt the extra drainage was needed when everyone in the Council was well aware of the drainage problems that had caused the issues as far back as 2005.

Mr Jarvis undertook to find out and report back to the committee.