Charges set to rocket for Bute synthetic pitch

The all-weather pitch at Rothesay Joint Campus.
The all-weather pitch at Rothesay Joint Campus.

Hire charges for the artificial pitch at Rothesay Joint Campus are set to jump by a whopping 250 per cent if Argyll and Bute Council officials get their way today (Thursday).

A report to be considered by the authority’s powerful policy and resources committee recommends that the current hourly rate of £15.27 should be increased in stages over the next four years, reaching £55 by 2018-19.

The council’s community services department wants to charge the same rate for all the authority’s synthetic pitches; currently charges vary from £15.27 in Rothesay and Dunoon to £57.95 in Oban.

The report states: “The current charging practice for all weather pitches is not in accordance with the council’s commitment to provide fair and equal access to similar facilities across all areas of Argyll and Bute.

“Whilst there will be an increase in costs for the use of some facilities, the new policy which is proposed in this paper will ensure all our customers are treated in a fair and equitable manner.”

The report also states that the lower hire rates for Dunoon and Rothesay “reflect historical charges for blaes sports pitches at the old Dunoon Grammar and Rothesay Academy sites”.

What the report does not say, however, is that not all the council’s synthetic pitches are of the same type.

The second-generation (2G) surface in Rothesay is not approved to host competitive adult football matches, for example, unlike the 3G surfaces available elsewhere.

The 2G surface at Lochgilphead Joint Campus, opened at the same time as Rothesay, was replaced by a 3G version last year due to wear and tear of the old pitch.

The council said at the time that the Lochgilphead pitch had become more worn than the Rothesay one, and that the 2G surface in Rothesay “may require to be replaced some time in the next two to four years”.

The decision on when to replace the Rothesay pitch, and what to replace it with, rests with ABC Schools, the council’s private sector partner in its not-for-profit new school buildings project.