WORN-OUT football pitches across Renfrewshire are set for an upgrade.

The first phase of improvements will take place at the Johnstone Community Sports Hub and Gryffe High School, in Erskine, later this year.

Park Mains High, in Erskine, and Castlehead High, in Paisley, will also benefit from Renfrewshire Council’s £1.2million programme of lifecycle and maintenance improvements for artificial playing surfaces.

Councillor Andy Steel, who represents Johnstone South and Elderslie, said the upgrades will see old pitches being replaced with the latest generation astroturf in a bid to boost outdoor exercise.

He added: “Football remains the number one activity in Scotland by a clear margin, so I’m delighted to see this money going into Johnstone’s pitches.

“The pitches are the central location for football in the area now, so it’s vital they are kept up to the mark. They were starting to show their age a bit, so it’s great to see this investment in new, better surfaces for everyone to use.”

Councillor Jacqueline Cameron, who also represents Johnstone South, added: “This is great news for Johnstone. There’s no use saying we need people to get active but ask them to use sub-standard facilities.

“The hub is very well used already but, hopefully, new pitches will encourage even more people to get their shooting boots back on.”

The plans follow complaints over the current condition of the playing surfaces on several pitches in Renfrewshire over the past year.

Concerns were raised in November about the Johnstone astroturf coming loose and there were also reports of rats being attracted to rubbish piling up at a nearby fence.

In April last year, The Gazette also told how the state of the 3G astroturf at Park Mains High was preventing youth football teams from playing 11-a-side matches.