FOOTBALL pitches at a Renfrewshire school are set to be denied an upgrade after a council inspection found them to be in a “satisfactory” condition, writes Jack Thomson

The findings have followed a high profile campaign – kickstarted by Houston United and backed by several celebrities – which called on the local authority to overhaul the mineral pitch at Gryffe High School. 

Walter Smith, Ally McCoist and Neil Lennon were among a number of big names who spoke publicly of a need to upgrade the outdoor sports facilities at the school. 

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Former Rangers and Scotland footballer McCoist had said the community wanted to give young people “a facility they can be proud of”.

And following pressure from local councillors, Renfrewshire Council agreed in May to inspect all three red blaes pitches which are used as part of the secondary school estate.

In a report which will be discussed at full council on Thursday, Gordon McNeil, director of Environment and Infrastructure, said long term investment is not currently needed at Gryffe High School’s red blaes pitch. 

The Gazette: Brian O'Discroll was among those to lend his support Brian O'Discroll was among those to lend his support

He said: “The mineral based pitch at Gryffe High School is not at the point in its asset life where long term investment is required to improve the drainage and playing surface. 

“The mineral pitch at the school will be inspected on an annual basis to update the asset condition.

“At the point when the asset condition survey recommends long term investment, the future pitch requirements will be reviewed in conjunction with the school and Renfrewshire Leisure to provide a facility that meets the future needs of the school and the community.”

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The other two red blaes pitches which were inspected were Linwood High School and St Benedict’s High School – both of which were also deemed to be of a “satisfactory” standard.
However, Linwood and St Benedict’s are public private partnership (PPP) schools.

Under the terms of the PPP contract, these mineral pitches need to be maintained to a satisfactory condition until the end of the contract in 2038.

Councillors will be asked to note the outcome of the inspection and approve future investment requirements on Thursday.

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