Rethink on Gorebridge football pitch closures

Tuesday March 27th 2018

Arniston Rangers

Arnbiston Rangers Youth Football Club (photo courtesy of Arniston Rangers YFC)

Midlothian Council have today voted to reverse their previous decision to close two pitches, one at Birkenside and one at Gore Glen, and to revisit a previosuly published Midlothian wide sports pitch needs report.

Following the previous decision, Arniston Rangers Youth Football Club had appealed to local councillors to say that the pitches were very much needed. Arniston Rangers is a growing club who in the last few years have greatly increased the number of their young players, children between 5 and 18, in the club and they have plans to grow this further, not withstanding that the population of Gorebridge is also growing.

Consequently Councillor Jim Muirhead raised a motion to the council to reverse the closure decisions and this was agreed by all councillors.

Councillors from both SNP and Labour also raised concerns from constituents about the previously published Midlothian Sports Pitch Needs Assessment Report, which was written by external consultants.

Clubs and coaches have highlighted flaws in this report, such as

– inaccurately low number of players
– the omission of the very active Fun 4s and Super 5s football in Midlothian
– the consultants lack of engagement with local clubs
– the omission of some pitches
– the wrong calculation of 7 a-side requiremenst (games last 50 minutes, not 30)
– the decision process to recommend the closure of the two 7 a-side pitches in King George V Park, Bonnyrigg

The council agreed to revisit and review this report in light of this feedback.

Kids football is well and truly live in Midlothian, each week night and on each weekend, a high number of children from 4 to 18 participate in training or matches at their football clubs. So this news will be very welcome to children, parents and coaches.

Today’s decision was also a very good example of all three parties listening to their constituents, working together and making decisions together for the good of Midlothian.

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