Assurances sought over new pitches

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Assurances are being sought by Carnoustie’s footballers that promises to expand sports provision are not derailed by recent archaeological discoveries.

Last week the Gazette reported that an archaeological survey as part of preparation for new football pitches on the edge of town had uncovered evidence of Bronze Age and possibly Iron Age habitation.

Now as it appears that the initial three-week dig by Guard Archaeology will extend for an as yet undisclosed period and suggestions emerge of developing the site as a heritage centre, Carnoustie Panmure SCIO have asked that whatever the outcome that their 580 young players do not suffer as a result.

Phil Hope, president of Carnoustie Panmure SCIO, told the Gazette: “The assurance that we’re looking for is that we’ve planned to have additional teams next year.

“Our U13s, who are currently playing seven-a-side, next season will be playing 11-a-side. There are also two U19s teams, but they’ve got nowhere to play their games. We are already playing some home games in Dundee because we don’t have space.

“We’re trying to start U35s football but we’re left with the situation of where they will play. We are currently the only club in Tayside that has a full career pathway right from U9s through to walking football and a full set of girls teams as well. We are unique in Tayside, but with success comes the problem of where these youngsters will play their sport.”

Phil continued: “We have waited four years to get to this stage. We were offered this land in June 2012 so we cannot afford to wait another four years. We need something done now. So we want to get some assurance of either a full 3G pitch or land for development, it’s as basic as that. This scuppers our plans.”

The archaeological dig is still at a very early stage so it is difficult to postulate what may eventually happen at the site, whether it does go back to the original two pitch plan for Carnoustie Panmure SCIO or whether some form of heritage centre is built.

Planning ahead, Peter Burke, chair of Connecting Carnoustie has already submitted suggestions to Angus Council’s Economic Development department.

These include a multimedia interactive walkthrough of the dig site and the relocation of other artefacts from other local archaeological sites and collections to a centre based in Carnoustie, although Mr Burke has also stated that if this is the case then alternative accommodations should be found for the footballers as a priority.

A spokesperson for Angus Council said: “While the excavation work will take longer than first anticipated, there is no rigid timescale for the scheduled development to begin. Clearly, the winter months are not the best time of year to be developing grass pitches.”