Loanhead football pitch plea rejected by Midlothian councillors

Calls for an all-weather football pitch in Loanhead have been rejected amid concern it would lead to more communities demanding help.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 11:08 am
The flooded pitch in Loanhead.

Midlothian councillors voted not to approve a motion by Councillor Kelly Parry (SNP) for her local club to be given help after it posted images of a waterlogged pitch which saw games suspended.

Instead they backed an amendment agreeing to carry out a fresh review of all sports facilities across Midlothian.

Councillor Parry urged fellow elected members to back her call for proposals to create an all-weather 11-a-side pitch for Loanhead Miners Youth Football Club to be brought forward.

She praised the club for its inclusivity and work in the community adding they had been lobbying for years for a pitch that is fit for purpose.

And she accused the council’s Labour administration of “kicking” the issue “into the long grass”.

The virtual meeting of the council heard that a review of sports facilities across the county was produced in 2016 and highlighted the need for an artificial pitch in Loanhead, however no progress had been made.

The Loanhead football club shared images of their pitch on Twitter two weeks ago showing it waterlogged and unplayable.

Councillor Parry’s motion was backed by fellow SNP councillor Debbi McCall.

However Councillor John Hackett (Lab) proposed an amendment which would see all sports facilities reviewed again rather than singling out Loanhead.

He said: “It (the motion) could bring forward successive motions from other areas that need improvement, Mayfield and Easthouses need improvements.

“I do not disagree with the sentiment of the motion, is it fair to single out one particular community when there are so many others who require support?

“There are other communities equally deserving of this investment , I think it is unfair to pick one community over others.”

And Councillor Stephen Curran (Lab) backed Councillor Hackett’s amendment saying he was not comfortable with the “localism” of the motion.

However Councillor Parry made no apology for bringing the motion on behalf of her community.

She said: “The community is frustrated to be told we will do this and that and it just never happens.”

Fellow Midlothian West councillor Russell Imrie (Lab) told the meeting he was “disappointed” Councillor Parry had not contacted him over the motion and had, instead, had it seconded by a fellow SNP councillor, presenting it as an SNP group motion.

However he was told fellow local councillor Pauline Winchester (Con) had been willing to second the motion but time restraints stopped that.

Councillor Colin Cassidy (SNP) defended any suggestion the motion was political saying: “Councillor Parry is not trying to make a political point here, she is fighting for her community.”

Both councillors Imrie and Winchester voted for the amendment to review all sports facilities which defeated the motion by 9 votes to 7.