A LAST minute intervention from Sportscotland this week means that a 3G pitch in Stranraer looks a certainty after they agreed that three pitches were needed in Dumfries and Galloway instead of just two.
With one pitch already earmarked for Dumfries it looked like Stranaer in the west and Annan in the east would have to go into a head to head contest as councillors were due to vote for one or the other. But it now looks like both towns will get a pitch after Sportscotand entered into discussions with Dumfries and Galloway Council to provide community cashback funding to fund three pitches.
Stranraer and North Rhins Councillor Willie Scobie, who hightlighted the need for three 3G’s in last week’s Galloway Gazette said: “I am delighted that common sense has prevailed where Dumfries and Galloway could now be provided with 3 x 3G pitches with one of these coming to Stranraer.
“I wrote to three MSP’s on this very matter and the only one that appears to have made any kind of representation to this affect was the Labour list MSP, Graeme Pearson.
“When I raised the matter with the constituency MSP, Alex Fergusson, all I seemed to get back was that I should pursue this with the Council. Thankfully, now we have a Labour MSP who is prepared to assist at Parliament level where Graeme Pearson’s efforts have had a positive effect where we do not need to see the unedifying spectacle of seeing communities falling out with communities and Stranraer and Annan both coming out winners.”
Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson said: “I greatly welcome this new approach from SportScotland, which is to enter immediate discussions with the council to try to deliver three 3G pitches across the region, rather than the two that have been spoken about up to this point. Given the decision to locate one such pitch in Dumfries itself, there has been an unseemly, unfortunate and unnecessary contest between the towns of Stranraer and Annan to provide the location for the second pitch. Both communities are totally justified in seeking to provide that location but, although I believe that Stranraer has by far the stronger case, this latest initiative would provide the perfect solution.
“I also commend the actions of the Council in seeking to involve Stranraer Football Club in the management and administration of a 3G pitch in Stranraer. That is to be encouraged and I trust it will be continued as the situation develops. I sincerely hope that ongoing discussions between SportScotland and the Council remain positive and will lead to a satisfactory outcome for our entire region. If we were to be confined to two pitches, with one being located in Dumfries, then one half of our region would be left feeling highly disadvantaged. It is in everyone’s interest to avoid that outcome.”
McLeod welcomes progress on 3G pitches
SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Aileen McLeod added: “I’m absolutely delighted that Sportscotland is going to help the Council to get three 3G pitches instead of only two. That means that Stranraer, Dumfries and Annan will all benefit from new facilities, taking the region closer to its aim of having a 3G pitch for each of its four areas.
“I’m sure this news will be very welcome in Annan and Stranraer and Dumfries.
“I’m very conscious however that, very welcome though this news is, it will leave the Stewartry as the only area in the region without a present commitment to a 3G pitch. That gap in provision will need to be addressed and I’m very happy to help the Council in any way I can to get its fourth 3G pitch.”