Villagers getting new sport pitches

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Youngsters in a Braes village will no longer need to use ‘jumpers for goalposts’ to play football after Falkirk Council announced it is to build a new state-of-the-art pitch.

The lack of sports facilities in Avonbridge has been a source of concern for many years, but a new MUGA (Mutli-use Games Area) pitch could be in place by the summer.

Youths in Redding will also benefit from a refurbishment and extension of facilities at King George V Park, which will happen during the close season.

The Avonbridge MUGA is the last one of 11 confirmed by Falkirk Council costing £500,000. Eight are already in place with one in Bonnybridge and another in Head of Muir also still to be built.

Jo Hirst, who chairs Avonbridge and Standburn Community Council, said the community is delighted at the news.

She added: “The community council has been lobbying local councillors for some time to improve facilities in the area, so we are delighted there is to be a new MUGA in Avonbridge.

“The lack of facilities for young people has been a big concern for residents as this can lead to antisocial behaviour. We also look forward to working with the council further to secure better play facilities for younger children as well.”

The £60,000 plans for Redding’s Overton Park sports pavilion will be paid for by developer contributions from Taylor Wimpey after they built houses nearby several years ago.

Falkirk Council consulted with the teams using the facility on the extra facilities to be put in place.

It was agreed that the pavilion dressing rooms would be refurbished, the current pitch will be moved and increased in size and new seven-a-side and kick-about pitches will be introduced.

The goalposts for the re-positioned full-size and seven-a-side pitches will be removable and stored in the pavilion for organised games, while the kick-about pitch will have permanent goals for people to play on at any time.

A council spokesman said: “We met with the teams who use the facilities about six weeks ago to encourage them to consider what their wishes for upgrading or refurbishing the facility might be and, armed with their initial responses, we also considered what might be possible. Development services has been back to the sports pavilion to measure up, intending to draw up plans and cost the options raised for consideration. We plan to meet the teams again once there is further information to report or share with them.

“Positioning of the seven-a-side and kick-about pitches will take account of the requirement to be good neighbours with the nearby houses.

“The work will take place during the close season in time for next season which begins on August 1, 2012.”

Livingstone Terrace Residents’ Action Group lobbied to ensure the funds were made available for the sports facilities.

Spokesman Sam Hemple said: “It’s been a long time for the money to actually filter through, but it’s great news for the community that it’s finally happening.”

A Community Payback Team has also tidied up the car park at the pavilion, increasing its size, trimming overhanging branches, repositioning perimeter stones and painting them.