The condition of a football pitch used by hundreds of children each year is so poor players are being injured, it has been claimed.
The 3G pitch across from Penicuik High School needs to be re-laid at a cost of £255,000. But despite a report to the local authority saying it needed replacing two years ago, nothing has been done. And a request for funds to be set aside from this year’s budget from officers was not met.
A petition raised on behalf of Penicuik Athletic Youth Football Club will go before councillors next week asking for the work to be carried out. The petition has 82 signatures and has been backed by an unnamed professional footballer who used to play there, a local nurse, and Midlothian South MSP Christine Graham.
The petition criticises the local authority for increasing the cost of using the pitch despite knowing its condition is poor.
It adds: “We have real concerns for all the players. Players have been injured playing football. On Thursday 17 January 2019 a boy fell during training and badly injured his elbow.
“We want Midlothian Council to fund re-carpeting and maintenance and to increase the security at this site to help prevent any damage or vandalism.”
The pitch is used by pupils at the school and local primary schools for inter-school events and hired every evening by youth and adult teams.
Penicuik Athletics Youth Club said it has more than 60 coaches and volunteers who run 14 teams for 350 youths.
A report from council officers confirms that a pitch inspection was carried out on February 6, 2017, which confirmed it needed replacing. However the report said: “Sport and Leisure Services have recorded very few incidents reported to the staff within the leisure centre who provide first aid, as any accident caused by the playing surface at the 3G pitch.”