Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Prestonfield playing fields views sought

Views are requested on a proposal for the council to enter into a contract with Hutchison Vale Community Sports Club to grant the use of the Morgan Playing Fields pitches on Saturdays and Sundays for matches in both boys and girls leagues.

The Morgan Playing Fields (see here for origin of name) are situated off Peffermill Road east of King's Meadow and opposite Nairn's oatcake factory, and were obtained by the city in the late 1990s. There was concern that the building of the King's Meadow estate encroached on open space available for recreation. Later, the new Cameron House Community Centre in Prestonfield Avenue was built on part of Prestonfield Park on the understanding that the two pitches and open space at nearby Morgan Playing fields would be available for local recreation purposes.

Morgan Playing fields is currently used by Prestonfield Primary School, by casual users, by clubs from the community centre, and by a number of other organisations and is administered by Edinburgh Leisure on behalf of the owner, Edinburgh Council. The playing fields are currently significantly underused and the state of the two pitches is relatively poor.

Hutchie Vale have applied to the Council for use of the fields including:
  • siting three site units to be used as changing rooms (home, away and officials). Planning permission has been obtained and the lease applied for would be for 5 years.
  • use of one pitch on Saturday afternoons as the home venue for the under 15 girls team league games during the season
  • use of the pitches on Sundays as the home venues for the under 14s and under 12 boys teams for league games during the season
  • such use for games would be subject to an annual let agreement
  • it is not anticipated the pitches would be used for training though use for coaching camps and activities would be sought by negotiation during school holidays
  • it is anticipated that the changing facilities (the three site units) could be made available by negotiation with other users such as Prestonfield Primary School
It is anticipated that the pitches, which currently suffer from rabbit holes and uneven surfaces would be upgraded to league use standard.

Guarantees have been given to the local community that this open space would be preserved for community use, especially after the loss of part of Prestonfield Park for building the new Community Centre.

The question now is whether such an arrangement with Hutchie Vale would be in the interests of the community - bearing in mind the expected upgrading of condition and facilities, potential clashes of use and its current underuse.

Views of local residents, current users and interested parties will be welcomed and can be posted below or sent to me by email or post.

This post endeavours to summarise the position and acknowledges there will inevitably be other issues (eg promotion of sport, parking etc) which if included here would make this a very long post!

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