Portlethen pitch pledge

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A top council official has stepped in to try and take the heat out of a row over pitch provision in Portlethen.

Plans to replace the synthetic pitch at Portlethen Academy with a multi-use surface have raised concerns.

The new 2G pitch will allow a wide range of sports, including hockey - but local footballers are unhappy over the provision and there are calls for a second artificial pitch.

Aberdeenshire Council’s head of lifelong learning and leisure John Harding attended a recent meeting of Portlethen Community Council to explain the position.

He told the Leader later: “What we’ve got is a school pitch which we as a department have looked at and thought about the needs of young people over the next decade in terms of trying to give them the best flexibility.

“We think a like-for-like replacement is the right thing to do.

“It doesn’t take away from the genuine feeling of the football clubs that they need something other than what’s there just now.”

He added: “What we tried to do at the meeting was say these are two separate issues.

“Let’s give the school what it needs and then can we talk together as partners about how we can build a funding package to try and give you what you want.”

Mr Harding said they would be keen to start discussions as soon as possible with the football clubs about providing a second pitch in the community.