All-weather rugby pitch plan meets opposition

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Giffnock residents are at odds with GHA Rugby Club once again over plans to build an all-weather rugby pitch at Braidholm.

The club has submitted a planning application to East Renfrewshire Council to create a 3G artificial surface pitch, with a decision expected in December.

It’s not the first time that neighbours have objected to club plans, with an application for eight football pitches previously withdrawn after fervent local protest.

Caroline Wilkinson was involved in the original No to Soccerworld campaign. She told The Extra: “This seems to closely mirror the 2011 application, which was subject to over 250 objections from the community.

“The application is determined by ERC to be an ‘intensification of use’ request, for three pitches which will be open until 10pm every night, with flood lighting until this time.

“The potential impact of raised voices, shouting and cheering until 10pm every night, is a real worry. To date, 79 objections have been received.”

Other concerns include intrusive floodlights and excess traffic, affecting homes on Whitton Drive in particular.

A representative of the rugby club responded: “GHA faces a difficult decision as two of its three pitches are in poor condition — the only option to cope with the needs of our members is to build an artificial grass pitch used by all groups.

“It will be laid out as a full size rugby pitch and can be used for other team sports — it is not a five or seven-a-side football complex, which are noisy as footballs strike the boarding. There will be no separating barriers to allow such play.

“The club has very adequate parking and the numbers using the 3G pitch will be easily accommodated, while the floodlight system is designed to meet the requirements of ERC’s department of environment as regards light spill.”

He added: “We at GHA wish to be good neighbours with all residents.

“The club is a not-for-profit organisation, and fears that continued degradation of its facilities will adversely affect its future success, so this development is essential to give the community the facilities it needs.”

A meeting between objectors and GHA Rugby Club has been planned for November.