Plan for users to play bigger role in running of pitches

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PARKS, pitches and pavilions would be run by the people that use them under a radical shake-up proposed by the main opposition group on the city council.

Labour’s proposals would see “friends” groups take on senior roles on committees overseeing parks, giving them a say on matters such as maintenance and which events could be held. Sports clubs would also play a role in managing pitches.

The idea is being proposed as part of Labour’s manifesto for this year’s council elections and was drawn up after it was suggested by members of the public as part of a consultation into the party’s policies.

Labour was already proposing co-operatives to manage housing, childcare and energy projects but has added pitches, parks and pavilions as part of its proposed “Co-operative Council”.

The park and pitch users would be part of a committee that would also include council officials and councillors.

Councillor Andrew Burns, pictured, Labour leader on the council, said: “There are lots of engaged individuals that have time and commitment to give to the city. The feedback we have had is that we are not tapping into that enough. Quite a few people asked for more localised management of parks and pavilions. It is giving people a stronger stake and a stronger feeling of ownership.”

The Labour group launched its draft manifesto document, Moving Edinburgh Forward, in November and has received submissions from around 100 individuals and groups based on the ideas, which it has now fed into a final version published last week.

Les Trotter, an official at Hutchison Vale football club that organised a campaign against “third world” sports facilities in 2006, said: “I think this would be worthwhile. We want to work hand-in-hand with the council and Edinburgh Leisure so I’d welcome it.”