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South Tyneside Playing Pitch Study

Sporty South Tyneside people are being urged to give their views on the recommendations of a comprehensive study into the Borough's sports pitches.

Consultants looked at the current demand and needs for football, cricket, rugby union, rugby league and hockey up to the year 2011. They carried out site inspections of the playing surfaces and the facilities at all pitches used by the community.

The report shows user rates in South Tyneside are twice the regional average for mini soccer and above average in senior and junior football, senior and junior cricket and junior rugby union.

Councillor Ron Reynolds, Lead Member for Lifelong Learning and Leisure says: "We are extremely keen to receive the views of people in South Tyneside who use the pitches. We want to know what they think of the consultants' recommendations and if they have any other suggestions we can consider. These will be used to form an action plan to shape the way we manage the facilities under our control and they will hopefully support future applications for funding to improve and update facilities."

Any comments in relation to the recommendations should be forwarded to Richard Jago, Events & Operations Unit, Cultural & Community Services, Central Library, Prince Georg Square, South Shields NE33 2PE or e-mail: richard.jago@s-tyneside-mbc.gov.uk.
The recommendations are:

Football
- Consider converting underused senior pitches into mini soccer pitches to address the current and future shortfall in the Community Area Forum (CAF) areas of West Shields and Whitburn, Cleadon & The Boldons.
- Consider using under utilised senior pitches to address the shortfall of junior pitches in Hebburn, Shields Riverside, East Shields and Whitburn, Cleadon & The Boldons.
- Aim to reduce the number of games played per week on Cultural and Community Services pitches to 1.5.
- Investigate funding to improve facilities and drainage at various sites.
- Consider relocating teams playing on sites with no accommodation to underused pitches with facilities.
- Develop female changing accommodation at various sites.
- Explore ways of allocating a home pitch for each of the three clubs, which currently play outside the Borough.
- Standardise pricing between Cultural & Community Services pitches and those based at educational sites.
- Liaise with schools to encourage increased community use of pitches.

Cricket
- No net loss of cricket pitches should be permitted up to 2011
- Improve facilities at cricket pitches
- Develop female changing accommodation at various sites.
- Develop an additional 8 junior teams by 2011

Rugby League/ Rugby Union
- No net loss of rugby pitches should be permitted up to 2011
- Develop 5 additional junior rugby union teams by 2011
- Develop 10 rugby league teams by 2011
- Consider developing an additional 3 rugby pitches, (1 for rugby union and 2 for rugby league), in the Community Area Forum area of West Shields by converting adult football pitches.
- Develop female changing accommodation at various sites.
- Investigate funding streams to improve drainage at Lukes Lane.


Hockey
- Upgrade the artificial turf pitch at Mortimer Community Centre
- Develop 5 junior teams by 2011
- Encourage clubs to become involved in the Active Sport Programme
- Encourage the Games Club to relocate to a home pitch in the Borough.


NOTES FOR EDITORS

The consultants worked on behalf of Tyne and Wear Sport and the five Tyne and Wear local authorities. Their survey was based on population data supplied by the Tyne and Wear Research and Information Unit and each local authority has received its own specific report.

Pitches in local authority, educational and private control were included, if they were classified as being in secured community use. Site inspections were carried out and assessments made of the condition of the playing surface and the facilities. As part of the process sporting clubs, schools and colleges were circulated with questionnaires. The consultants have also produced a Tyne and Wear Overview Report which enables local authorities to compare provision and team generation rates across the region.

Pres/lll/leis/abpr243ck

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