All Weather Pitch for Campbeltown in 2011? That is the possibility following Argyll & Bute Council’s appointment of sport and leisure consultants PMR Leisure to progress the SportScotland Stage 2 Application for the provision of an All Weather Pitch (AWP) in Campbeltown. After years of campaigning by South Kintyre Sports Council for the provision of a full size 3rd Generation All Weather Pitch the possibility has taken a huge step forward.
Following meetings with the Council earlier this year the local authority agreed to progress the Stage 1 application to SportScotland who responded in May supporting the project in principal as a "high priority" application and encouraging the Council to apply for the second stage of the process which involved detailed costing, specification, planning and operation detail. Argyll & Bute Council recently identified funding to allow PMR Leisure to progress with the Stage 2 application who in turn wasted no time in calling a meeting of interested parties last Wednesday evening. The North Berwick based consultancy firm have over 20 years experience of working in the sports and leisure industry and visited Campbeltown earlier this year as part of the Council's Sports Facility and Pitches Strategy and submitted the successful stage 1 application to SportScotland. Penny Lochhead, Director of PMR Leisure, said "The meeting in Campbeltown went exceptionally well and we will be working closely with local groups and the community to progress the Stage 2 application to SportScotland. The planned dates for submission is mid January for a result by April which will tie in with the next financial year budgeting by Argyll & Bute Council. Planning is to be submitted by mid November and we need the community to support this."
A spokesperson for South Kintyre Sports Council commented "We are delighted that there is further movement on the All Weather Pitch campaign for Campbeltown. We have continued to highlight the need for the AWP throughout the summer and it was exciting to hear from the Council that the stage 2 application will be progressed and that funding from the Council's side has been identified which will tie in with the Stage 2 application submission and the Council's budget early next year. The support for the AWP has never diminished but it is heartening to hear that a further step is being made and we must acknowledge the efforts of Sandy MacTaggart of Argyll & Bute Council who visited Campbeltown in January 2010 and kept his word in taking this forward. However, there is still a lot to do and we must not become complacent and will offer our full support to PMR over the next few months and hope the community continues to show their support which has been fantastic over the years".
The All Weather Pitch has been a high priority of the Kintyre sporting community and has wide support from sports groups including South Kintyre Sports Council whose campaign has helped convince the lottery board of its need. The local voluntary group gathered over 3000 signatures last year as part of their petition and had just under 1000 people sign support on-line. In March this year over 800 people turned up to show support at the Council's CHORD open day which once again highlighted the need for the provision of a synthetic pitch which is enjoyed by communities throughout Argyll & Bute Council.
Similar developments in other parts of Argyll and Bute through both the NPDO Schools programme and lottery funded projects have helped dramatically increase the number of people active in sport as well as increase the number of sports coaches.
The Campbeltown All Weather Pitch is intended to be sited adjacent to Aqualibrium on Kinloch Green and will be operated as part of the leisure centre. The project also includes the refurbishment of the Kinloch Green changing pavilion to allow team changing. The completed facilities will be used by sports organizations, schools, Active Schools and casual users who will be able to book the pitch or a section of the pitch through Aqualibrium.
South Kintyre Sports Council added “If everything goes to plan we could be looking at the All Weather Pitch to be up and running by autumn 2011 which will provide a fantastic boost to our local clubs who are arguably the most committed Sports Clubs in mainland Scotland”