Pitch battle over late-night games

ANGRY residents are trying to pull the plug on a rugby club’s plans to introduce floodlit all-weather football pitches.

A campaign has been started by residents living on Whitton Drive and Braidholm Road to halt the proposals from GHA rugby club.

The Soccer GHA application is for seven five-a-side all-weather football pitches and one seven-a-side floodlit pitch.

Caroline Elliot, a Braidholm Road resident, told The Extra: “We fully support GHA and its role in the community.

“It is of grave concern to us it is struggling financially and the group have an action to brainstorm as many ways as possible for the club to raise funds – without the need to introduce eight football pitches.

“Protests centre on our concerns about traffic, parking, noise pollution, light pollution and a number of these facilities are already in existence in the area”.

Anne Toms, a Whitton Drive resident, added: “We will have no peace in our own gardens. We can already hear the noise of games from inside our houses.

“I have witnessed and spoken to people who live near another of these sites and they get beer cans and litter left after a game”.

But GHA president Bernard Dunn says an anonymous author is misinforming the community with a leaflet containing “untruths”.

He told The Extra: “Despite the popularity of the club we have found it impossible to balance the books.

“The club has reluctantly come to the conclusion it must share ground with a commercial organization to continue to provide its service.

“We are aware a leaflet entitled Say No to Soccerworld has been circulated to our neighbours and we are keen to dispel the misinformation and untruths contained within.

“Firstly the anonymous author mischievously claims the lights will be on till midnight. In fact the four pitches closest to the neighbouring flats will close at 9.30pm and the other four at 10pm.

“Also, the club bar is not being made available to the footballers and the lights will not be shining into residents’ properties until midnight.

“They are designed to shine down onto the pitches and not up into the flats. The author claims footballers prolifically use vulgar language — a stereotype we find quite offensive.

“We insisted on restrictions to early finishes, playing times, bar access and staggered start times when in negotiations with our partners in order to give as much consideration to our neighbours as possible.

“We hope our neighbours understand the need for the club to raise additional revenue and when they examine our plan they see we have tried to address their concerns from the outset.

“We have good relations with our neighbours and would hope that will continue into the future”.