RED blaes pitches across Renfrewshire could be set for an upgrade.

The council has pledged to inspect the outdated surfaces in communities and schools in the region, following a plea from Councillor Jim Sheridan.

The decision comes after a campaign — kickstarted by Houston United and supported by Rangers legend Ally McCoist — called on the local authority to overhaul the surface at Gryffe High. 

That led Councillor Sheridan to put forward a motion at this week’s full council meeting, asking the local authority to compile a report looking at the viability of upgrading the dilapidated red blaes pitches.

READ MORE: Rangers legend Ally McCoist gives helping hand to Gryffe High pitch campaign

However, Councillor Jim Paterson said if elected members were serious about grassroots sports they shouldn’t restrict a review to one area and should instead look at all of Renfrewshire. 

He added: “I think it’s only fair and right. Not every area has the commodity of celebrity backers.” 

The Gazette: Cllr Jim Sheridan submitted the motion Cllr Jim Sheridan submitted the motion

Some councillors had expressed concern about the nature of the campaign, which has seen actor James Nesbitt and retired Irish rugby star Brian O’Driscoll encourage people to sign the petition for Gryffe High. 

Councillor Jacqueline Cameron said: “I have to express my distaste at the use of celebrities in this campaign.”

Meanwhile, Councillor Audrey Doig, whose ward covers Gryffe High, questioned whether the school, its managers, the parent teacher association and Renfrewshire Leisure had been consulted. 

“If you want something, you really should talk to the people that are in charge of the area,” she said.

The Gazette: Cllr Cameron was among those to reveal her displeasure at the campaign Cllr Cameron was among those to reveal her displeasure at the campaign

Councillor Colin McCulloch, who told his colleagues he was an athletics champion during his time as a Gryffe High student, criticised red blaes pitches as “appalling” and “sore” on the body. 

Councillor Sheridan assured fellow elected members, adding: “We are not taking away the facility … I’m asking to improve this facility.”

He agreed the local authority should inspect all of the outdated pitches, as long as it was done in a “timeous” fashion. 

Gordon McNeil, director of Environment and Infrastructure, will now take the summer months to assess the pitches and report to full council in late September. 

Houston United coach Alasdair Burns, who led the campaign to upgrade the Gryffe High pitch, hailed the decision to look at the viability of upgrading all red blaes surfaces in the area. 

READ MORE: Brian O'Driscoll joins fight for pitches at Gryffe High School

He said: “We are all very happy that our local campaign has led to a bigger vote to investigate and report back on all red blaes pitches across the whole of Renfrewshire. 

“Hopefully, this will be the start of a strategic approach by Renfrewshire Council to work with the various communities to upgrade any red blaes sports facilities in the area, including the one at Gryffe High School.”

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