Agenda item

Playing Pitch Report Update (HC39/19)

Minutes:

Alderman Hussey referred to the report and stated that he had attended two meetings which included two football clubs from the Castlederg Area where the lack of provision for the overall area had been discussed. 

Alderman Hussey Proposed, Seconded by Alderman M Hamilton

That    this Council immediately instigate the promised refurbishment of playing surfaces at Mitchell Park, Castlederg to a standard appropriate to their former use as a playing facility for adult Association Football and that the changing room facility deficit at Spamount Pitches, Castlederg be addressed.

Further, that Council instruct officers to proactively engage with Sion Swifts Football Club and assist in the identification of land appropriate to the needs of this thriving club and its’ future development.

Alderman Hussey referred to the Pitches Condition Survey and Strategy 2018 by Otium Leisure Consultancy discussed at the Health and Community Committee meeting on 14 February 2019.   He stated that the report had clearly indicated a rural deficit in pitch provision for adult association football throughout the Strabane rural area.  He outlined that within four areas identified in the report, only Strabane rural showed a shortfall in the supply of pitches against current demand. He then referred to the playing fields at Mitchell Park, Castlederg and stated that they were not adequate for the provision of adult association football due to drainage problems.  He stated that local football teams had to play and train at Spamount playing fields.  He stated that it was his understanding that £20,000 had been allocated to Mitchell Park which had not been used and that given the deficit identified within the Pitches Condition Survey and Strategy report, that Council immediately instigate the use of the allocated funding. 

Alderman Hussey stated that similarly the report had also identified changing room deficit at Spamount playing fields which also needed to be addressed.  He then referred to Sion Swifts Football club who were seeking a long term lease on land in the Sion area due to the absence of facilities.  He asked that officers proactively engage with the club to ascertain any suitable land in the Sion Mills area.  Concluding, he stated that given the information within the report and that Council had a surplus of 7 percent pitch availability, that Members consider the proposal.

Councillor R McHugh stated that sports clubs within Castlederg had made representations regarding recent developments in relation to funding for clubs.  He stated that whilst he was largely supportive of Alderman Hussey’s comments, he reminded him that Mitchell Park pitches were for multi-use and not solely for association football.  He stated that it was his understanding that the £20,000 had already been spent towards work to bring them to an acceptable standard.  He stated that a recommendation regarding improvement works at Mitchell Park was contained within the draft pitch strategy, with further information which would address the concerns raised by Alderman Hussey. 

The Mayor stated that it was his understanding that such requests would be considered by the Capital Working Group.

Councillor D Kelly stated that he sought clarity on whether or not the allocated funding of £20,000 was available.

The Chief Executive stated that he was unable to confirm if the £20,000 had already been used, nor what was required to instigate the proposed refurbishment of the playing surfaces at Mitchell Park.  He stated that a report would be brought to a future meeting of the Health and Community Committee for Members’ consideration.

Councillor Duffy suggested that the matter be deferred until a detailed report became available as Members could not vote on the matter when the required information was not available. 

Alderman Hussey stated that the Director of Health and Community had attended a meeting where the £20,000 funding had been raised.  He stated that at that time, the Director did not counteract the statement that had been made by the club. 

Councillor Reilly stated whilst he took on board the proposal by Alderman Hussey he stated that it was important that the process was carried out fairly and correctly.  He concurred with Councillor Duffy that a detailed report be presented to the next meeting of the Health and Community Committee.

The Mayor advised that in the absence of the Director of Health and Community, information on the matter was not available to Members to enable them to make an informed decision and suggested that it would be best for a report be brought to the next meeting of the Health and Community Committee.  He then asked Alderman Hussey if he wished to proceed with his proposal.

Councillor Gallagher concurred that it would be prudent to wait until a report was available on the matter.  He then referred to Beechmount Avenue pitch, owned by Council and asked that to be included in the report as it was a facility which was greatly used in the past and had potential.

Councillor McMahon stated that discussions had taken place with the Head of Environment regarding the pitch at Beechmount Avenue and that he had been advised that it would be on the agenda of a future meeting of Environment and Regeneration Committee.

Alderman Hussey expressed disappointment that his proposal could not be considered, however he accepted the sentiments expressed by Members.

Councillor Duffy Proposed, Seconded by Councillor Reilly

That    a detailed report be brought to the Health and Community Committee regarding the £20,000 allocated for works at Mitchell Park and that the changing room deficit at Spamount Pitches, Castlederg be addressed.  Consideration be given to future engagement with Sion Swifts Football Club in relation to the identification of land appropriate to the needs of the club.

                        After voting by a show of hands the result was unanimous and Council

Resolved       That a detailed report be brought to the next meeting of the Health and Community Committee regarding the £20,000 allocated for works at Mitchell Park and that the changing room deficit at Spamount Pitches, Castlederg be addressed.  Consideration be given to future engagement with Sion Swifts Football Club in relation to the identification of land appropriate to the needs of the club.