Disappointing use of £500,000 3G pitch

An elected member has raised concerns that the new 3G multi-sports pitch at Newton Stewart’s Blairmount Park has an occupancy rate of just 25 per cent.

Since the £500,000 facility opened, 7,089 users have been recorded, but the Blairmount Community Sport Hub, which manages the 3G pitch accept they need to work to engage the wider community.

The education service has 33 per cent of the occupancy from 3750 users.

Mid Galloway Councillor Graham Nicol asked council officers at Wednesday’s Area committee meeting in Wigtown if this statistic was low compared to other 3G pitches across the region.

He was informed by Karen Brownlie, the principal officer for facilities in Wigtown, that the figures for Newton Stewart’s 3G was “similar to Stranraer”.

Councillor Nicol said: “These facilities cost a lot of money to build and whilst it is encouraging to see the average numbers generally rising, 25 per cent usage does not represent good value for money.

“I would therefore encourage all groups to make more use of the facility so it become easier to justify having it built. I would also encourage the committee to press ahead with the development of the pavilion because we have a first class playing facility but changing rooms that do not compliment the 3G pitch.”

Sports Hub member Andy McClymont said: “The pitch is well used considering the population of Wigtownshire is 20,000. It has been a huge success since it opened and as a hub we have been given a target of raising £10,000 every year to pay for a pitch replacement. From last October to this October I am confident we will make that.

“But we have never seen a councillor there since it opened. We didn’t even get an official opening ceremony.”

Mid Galloway Councillor Jim McColm requested that the council do work to improve the access to the Blairmount pitch. He noted the road in was often flooded during the winter because of drainage problems.