Scarborough Council backs new playing pitch strategy which will make securing new sports' facilities a priority for next 20 years

Scarborough Council has backed a strategy to secure new facilities for the borough's residents to play football, cricket, hockey, rugby and athletics which is to be made a priority of the borough council for the next two decades.

Monday, 6th September 2021, 2:39 pm
Updated Monday, 6th September 2021, 2:44 pm
Football field in Scarborough. (JPI Media/ Richard Ponter)

The authority's full council today adopted a new Playing Pitch Strategy which aims to find additional sites for sport as well as bringing older facilities back into use.

The strategy, which covers the period up to 2038, has been shaped by the council with input from North York Moors National Park, Everyone Active, Sport England, Rugby Football Union, Rugby Football League, England Hockey, the North Riding County FA, the Football Foundation, North Yorkshire Sport, the England & Wales Cricket Board, Yorkshire Cricket Board and England Athletics.

The strategy aims to meet current and future demand for new pitch space can be met, not just through providing new facilities but through making better use of existing resources.

Cllr Jim Grieve, the cabinet member for Quality of Life told the meeting: "The reason for having a strategy is to ensure we can get access to pitches for everyone across the borough."

Aims include protecting playing fields, supporting schools and colleges to make their pitches available to the community, supporting the voluntary sector to provide new pitches. Contributions from planning developments would be used to help fund the project.

Research from the council and its partner bodies suggests the demand for pitches is likely to grow across the life of the strategy.

Currently 37 sites for football have been recorded, comprising 84 pitches of differing size. There has been a reduction of around 25% in the number of adult football pitches in community use from the 2013 study and there is insufficient community use provision to accommodate youth teams.

The strategy will also look to address the disparity between men's and women's sport in the borough with fewer than 5% of teams in the Scarborough borough area being registered as female.

Out of 131 football teams, there is one U18 Women’s team and just seven girls’ teams. One potential option is to develop Oliver’s Mount in Scarborough as a football pitch hub site to support participation by women and youth teams.

Research also identified that by 2026 there will be a need for an additional eight cricket wickets, with that figure rising to 24 by 2038.

The council believes that these can be delivered in the form of new whole pitches, or the expansion of existing grounds; the authority will also look into the potential of reinstating the former Oriel Cricket Ground in Scarborough.

The strategy was unanimously adopted.