WORK has started on transforming Holmpark Playing Fields in Bishopton into a modern state of the art sports centre.

The first stage in the ambitious community-led multi million pound project was last week when contractors began drainage work to prepare the site for future building work.

Bishopton Community Development Trust, made up of local people from the Renfrewshire town, plan to install rugby and football pitches, tennis courts, and an athletics track.

They also intend building a sports pavilion, changing rooms, a function suite and a bar.

The Community Trust are looking for funding from sports bodies of up to £9million towards the complex.

They hope to hire specialist consultants to seek financial support from organisations like the Scottish Rugby Union and the Scottish Football Association.

Trust director Mike Tomenson said: “Drainage improvement works have now commenced and involve constructing a new culvert under the road.

“This in turn which will see a new, supplementary 50-metre long drainage pipe installed that will vastly improve the capacity of the existing drainage system and allow areas of the field to be developed into new community sports facilities.

“This is a significant investment by the Community Trust and forms the first phase of improvements to the Holmpark playing fields.”

At present the playing fields are used by the local Bishopton Rugby Club for games and by local community groups like the Guides. The rugby club will still be able to play there while building work is taking place.

The sports complex is being developed by Mackenzie Construction with the technical support of BAE Systems who gifted the fields to the Trust.

Mr Tomenson added: “Covid-19 has thrown everything up in the air and we don’t know what funding will be available in the future.”

The drainage work is expected to take 10 weeks at a cost of around £100,000. The first plan thereafter is to lay a grass football pitch.

Scott Wilson, trust chairman, said: “This is a significant milestone in the development of Holmpark into a sports and leisure hub for the whole community.

“We have been developing the plans for the Holmpark site in full consultation with the community and local sports clubs over the past year, and now look forward to being able to move onto further phases of the development following the completion of these drainage works.”

The local Trust began the consultation over the sports complex in 2016 when ownership of the land passed to them.

They say the complex, once completed, will provide a sports hub for the expanding local community.

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