Councillors told no cash to complete the job at Deanshaugh

Elgin community will get their pitches back - but no pavilion.
Elgin community will get their pitches back – but no pavilion.

YEARS OF SHOCKING DELAYS over the re-establishment of football pitches on the Deanshaugh playing fields in Elgin is likely to continue.

While the pitches themselves are still expected to be ready for play next year – twelve months later than promised – teams wishing to use them for organised games will not have any changing facilities.

Financial constraints are being blamed on the building of a new pavilion to accompany the pitches, which have been unused for over ten years – initially closed over constant flooding issues, the area was then used as a waste sorting area during construction of the £86millon flood alleviation scheme.

Promises were then made to restore the pitches after the local authority saved several million pounds by creating a raised car parking area on a corner of the site – using waste from the flood works that would have been expensive to dump in landfill sites.

The pitches should have been ready this summer – however, in April the local authority admitted that there were “ongoing issues” after insideMoray published images that showed the surface was far from ready – and that meant they would be delayed until August 2017.

Now a meeting of the children and young person’s committee on Wednesday will be told that the council will not apply for funding to build a pavilion alongside the pitches when they eventually do open.

Authored by educational resources manager Nick Goodchild, the report advises: “As a consequence of the council’s financial situation, together with the fact that the majority of competitive football can be accommodated within existing facilities, it is not proposed to seek funding for the provision of a pavilion at Deanshaugh playing fields.

“The site will be available for recreational football and training. It is anticipated this will result in considerable disappointment within the local community.”

Despite recognising that local residents would be disappointed at the failure to complete the long awaited restoration of the pitches, Mr Goodchild insists there would in any event be “very little demand” for competitive football matches at Deanshaugh.

He said: “The majority of local organisations responsible for organised competitive football at Council sites (Scottish Junior Football Association, Welfare league, Scottish Women’s Football) require that pitches are serviced with suitable changing, shower and toilet facilities.

“There are currently sufficient existing serviced pitches (excluding Deanshaugh) within Elgin to meet this demand. As a consequence, it is anticipated there will be very little demand for competitive matches at Deanshaugh.

“It is proposed that instead the site is used for recreational football/training and that discussions are held with local sports organisations in order to encourage wider use.”

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