Whistle blows on pitch plan

GHA will stick to rugby after controversial plans to build football pitches have been shelved.
GHA will stick to rugby after controversial plans to build football pitches have been shelved.

Giffnock residents are breathing a sigh of relief as GHA rugby club have binned plans for a five-a-side pitches at Braidholm.

The application for eight five-a-side and seven-a-side football pitches to be developed on their current rugby grounds was withdrawn this week.

The club’s neighbours reacted in outrage, with concerns about noise pollution and the club’s lack of communication about the proposals.

GHA president Bernard Dunn said the board came to the conclusion that “the impact the development would have on our neighbours would not be acceptable.

“We want to maintain good relations”.

The club developed the plans as a way to protect their financial future.

“Like all community clubs we have to find new sources of income,” Mr Dunn continued, “and with so many other clubs or interests competing for potential members it is difficult in these economic times to balance the books.

“Although we were concerned at the level of objection, we were equally heartened by the messages of goodwill”.

Giffnock community council chairman Hugh Moore is delighted by the news.

He told The Extra: “This has been a contentious application and the community have made their views known through the hard work of the No to Soccerworld Campaign team.

“Giffnock community council has supported this campaign in view of the adverse effects this application would have on our environment.

“This shows that the Giffnock community does have a voice and can make a difference.

“We are pleased that GHA have recognised this by withdrawing the application”.

The proposal prompted cross party opposition from Labour in ERC leader Jim Fletcher, Conservative councillor Gordon Wallace and Lib Dem Provost Alex Mackie.

Jim Murphy MP as well as MSPs Ken Macintosh, Stewart Maxwell and Jackson Carlaw were all opposed to the plans.

Local resident Caroline Elliot — one of the leaders of the Say no to Soccerworld Campaign — although pleased with the decision, admits there are still some concerns among the community.

She said: “This application may be resubmitted by GHA in another shape or form in the future, which would be unacceptable.

“However, the community shall be vigilant in reviewing any future planning applications submitted by the rugby club, and hope that by working closely with the GHA Rugby Club to improve their financial position that these concerns shall not come to fruition”.

Mr Dunn added: “We hope that the community will help us now and support our efforts to continue providing excellence in rugby in the southside of Glasgow”.

Now another local rugby club, Whitecraigs, may be poised to step in and take advantage of the withdrawal by GHA, as the club currently has planning permission in principle for both an indoor multi-purpose sports pitch and an outdoor all weather pitch.

The Braidholm based rugby club, GHA, previously clashed with the surrounding community over plans to build a phone mast on the club’s grounds.