COUNCIL chiefs have committed to saving a much-loved community hub after it was revealed it could be lost as a result of years of neglect.

Fed-up residents in Paisley's Gallowhill said the multi-use games area off Netherhill Road had been allowed to fall into an unsafe state of disrepair, with broken lighting and dangerous holes all over the cracked and rutted surface.

Now, following a budget meeting on Thursday, Renfrewshire Council has agreed to set aside funds to bring the pitch up to scratch.

West of Scotland Conservative MSP Russell Findlay says that the investment is long overdue, and the facility should never have been allowed to fall into such a poor state in the first place.

He said: “I’m grateful to the residents who backed our calls last week to save this pitch, this victory has been swift and decisive.

“This well-used area, which became a hub of the community during the pandemic, was allowed to fall into a state of dangerous disrepair over a period of years and it took our campaign for the local authority to wake up and do the right thing."

The Gazette:

Moira Hicks, who has lived in the area for most of her life, explained the importance of the facility to locals.

She said: “This is a well-used and vital part of our community's framework.

“I think it’s an absolute disgrace that it was allowed to get into this state in the first place."

Scottish Conservative councillor Neill Graham said the funding commitment from the local authority was long overdue.

He added: “Residents made their feelings known - loud and clear - that this pitch is a vital community asset and could no longer be left to rot like this.

The Gazette:

“We must now see proper investment in the Gallowhill area going forward."

Council officers will now begin work on the next phase of renewals and refurbishments of play parks across Renfrewshire.

Past funding has seen spaces such as Tinto Square in Renfrew and Ben Lawers Park in Paisley renewed and transformed into safe spaces for children to play.

Details on when a public consultation will be conducted have still to be confirmed but council chiefs say it will include the pupils at local primary schools and other local groups who want to be heard.

SNP councillor Cathy McEwan said: “Play parks have a vital role within our communities. The residents of Gallowhill deserve a play park which is fit for all purposes, and I am delighted that it is the SNP budget providing the funding to ensure this happens."

Fellow SNP councillor Jim Paterson added: “The funding commitment in our budget ensures that there will be a further phase of play park improvements across Renfrewshire and the play facilities located at Gallowhill Community Centre. It is important to ensure that the new equipment caters to the needs of the community and we will be speaking to residents and schools to make sure this is the case."