This is how many Edinburgh football pitches have closed in the last 20 years

At least 35 full-sized football pitches have been lost since the turn of the century in the Capital.

By Jacob Farr
Thursday, 29th August 2019, 3:18 pm
At least 35 11-a-side football pitches have been lost since the turn of the century in the Capital.
At least 35 11-a-side football pitches have been lost since the turn of the century in the Capital.

The Evening News has been able to identify through independent research that at least 35 full-sized pitches for football use by the public have been lost during this period.

This figure was arrived on after taking into account the new facilities that were built in their place. And it is said that demand for pitches will only grow on the back of women’s football becoming the fastest growing sport on the planet.

Tam Smith, Hutchison Vale’s club secretary, said: “I see a lot of green space that used to be football pitches given away to private schools and universities with no transparency whatsoever.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

At least 35 11-a-side football pitches have been lost since the turn of the century in the Capital.

Read More

Read More
Edinburgh football clubs: 'Our pitches are unplayable'

“Grassroots sport is suffering death by a thousand cuts by a council that does not have the word ‘sport’ in any of its department titles.

“They need to be taken to task, between them they are destroying football, while at the same time facilitating rugby and the arts.”

He added: “Face it, we live in a city which aspires to elitism and is status driven. People need to wake up and start questioning politicians about the decisions that affect their lives.

“Maybe we should start by asking why we need so many politicians and why there are four councillors for every ward, especially when we are told cuts are necessary.

“Why not set an example by cutting their number, they are outdated – a new way of local government is required so that decisions made are representative of all the people not just the Edinburgh elite.”

Edinburgh City Council has stated that sport pitches are protected by planning legislation so any development that results in a loss of a pitch must be compensated by new pitches or investment in current pitches elsewhere.

The council also claimed that with the construction of synthetic pitches at the sites of lost grass fields, there has been an increase in capacity for use by football clubs, and at the very least there is no decrease in the level of accessibility to full size pitches.

However, the cost of hiring an entire synthetic pitch for an hour to conduct training is £75.90, whereas a grass pitch is only £37.13. When you look at fees for matches, the contrast also makes for uncomfortable reading; £74.40 for match fees on a synthetic pitch and £53.05 for grass.

The above costs show quite clearly the issue associated with costs and accessibility when grass pitches disappear.

A City of Edinburgh Council spokesperson said: “By investing in better quality sports pitches – replacing grass with synthetic and 3G – we have actually seen the year-round use of Edinburgh’s sports pitches increase. These pitches support a range of activities – football, rugby, cricket, hockey, baseball, soccer sevens.

“Many of the pitches highlighted were closed because they were found to be severely underused or in poor condition. Our aim is to increase access to physical activity in the city and get more people active, which means constantly reviewing usage, supply and demand by members of the community as well as clubs. We also support the creation of new pitches in Edinburgh.”

Some locations have seen multiple pitches closed:

1 – City Park

2 – Gyle Park, pictured3 – Gyle Park4 – Gyle Park5 – Gyle Park6 – Gyle Park7 – Gyle Park

8 – Sighthill9 – Sighthill10 – Sighthill

11 – Spartans12 – Spartans13 – Spartans

14 – Inverleith15 – Inverleith16 – Inverleith17 – Inverleith18 – Inverleith

19 – Gypsy Brae20 – Gypsy Brae21 – Drumbrae Leisure

22 – Portobello

23 – Union Park

24 – Craigroyston25 – Craigroyston

26 – Forrester/St Augustine27 – Forrester/St Augustine

28 – Roseburn29 – Roseburn

30 – Campbell Park

31 – Powderhall32 – Powderhall

33 – Wardie34 – Wardie

35 – Saughton