COMMUNITY TO BENEFIT AS MELROSE 3G SPORTS PITCH PLANS GET APPROVAL
Exciting plans for a new 3G community sports pitch in Melrose have been given the go-ahead.
Scottish Borders Council gave its support to the project this week, meaning an all year round playing surface, which will provide a variety of community benefits to local sports clubs and schools, will be installed at the Greenyards this year.
Work is expected to get underway in July and the facility is due to open in November 2019.
The project – which is led by Scottish Borders Council and Melrose Rugby with support from Scottish Rugby – will now hold a drop-in session at the Greenyards on Tuesday 11 June at 6pm to 8pm to allow local people, sports clubs and community groups to look at the plans in more detail before work begins.
The pitch plans, which will include new floodlighting and a spectator walkway, are fully expected to result in a considerable increase in sports participation at all levels.
The facility will also assist Melrose Rugby with its aims of becoming more community focussed and sustaining its long term future.
The club has already carried out consultation with the community and stakeholders such as the Scottish Football Association, charity Live Borders, local schools, sports clubs and traders, who have been supportive of the 3G project.
The project has been inspired by a number of other successful 3G pitch projects involving other sports clubs in the Scottish Borders:
- Netherdale in Galashiels – the home of Gala Fairydean Rovers FC - previously hosted one game a week involving 26 players when it was a grass football pitch. Now, with a 3G surface, over 1,000 football and rugby players of all ages use the facility every week.
- In Hawick, over 13,500 people used the Volunteer Park 3G pitch in 2018/19, which was installed through a partnership project between Hawick Linden, Hawick Wanderers, Bill McLaren Ltd, Scottish Borders Council and sportscotland. This figure does not include use by Hawick Linden and Hawick Wanderers rugby clubs.
The Greenyards pitch is owned by the Ormiston Trust, which is made up of the three Leaderdale and Melrose ward Councillors who are part of Scottish Borders Council.
Scottish Borders Council’s Convener, Councillor David Parker, who was heavily involved in negotiations to secure the new 3G pitch at Melrose, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to reach a point where we can invest in the next 3G pitch in the Scottish Borders in Melrose.
“The Council has a proud track record of delivering community synthetic pitches across the Scottish Borders and the Melrose proposal will make a significant difference to sports clubs in the town. It will enhance football and rugby and give many generations of young people access to a first class sporting facility.
“The pitch is owned by the Ormiston Trust, whose sole aim is to make sure that it provides important community facilities for all and this community investment in Melrose will certainly do that. We look forward to the project being delivered.”
Councillor Euan Jardine, SBC’s Executive Member for Culture and Sport, said: “We have been working closely with Melrose Rugby and Scottish Rugby on the Melrose 3G sports pitch project and I am delighted we now have the go-ahead to install a quality all year round playing surface which will be available for the whole community to enjoy.”
Chairman of Melrose RFC, Gordon Brown, added: "Melrose Rugby is delighted at today’s news.
“This has been a long-standing ambition of the club since the launch of our Legacy project in 2017. The new 3G pitch will allow the club to continue competing at the highest level as well as being an incredible asset that will enable other sporting activities and events.
“The club would like to thank all our support partners in approving this exciting project. It will mark an exciting new chapter for us as we open our doors to the local community and others in the surrounding area.
“We look forward to welcoming anyone interested in seeing the plans to the Greenyards on 11 June.”
Scottish Rugby’s Regional Director for Edinburgh, Borders and Lothian, David Drummond said: “Scottish Rugby believes this move to a 3G surface is a positive step at the Greenyards to help the rugby club and the wider sporting and local community enjoy access on a more regular basis, together with the subsequent health benefits that will bring.
“We know pitches in Scotland come under significant pressure throughout the season so the level of investment and commitment from Scottish Borders Council to improve this facility was something we wanted to support and contribute towards.
“We are supporting new 3G pitch projects across Scotland and this opportunity in the Borders is another example of Scottish Rugby investing to help clubs become more sustainable and have high-quality facilities to engage existing and future players.”