By Paul Thomson, East Kilbride News
East Kilbride Sports Council have thrown their weight behind our Field of Dreams campaign this week – insisting a new stadium is required to bring the town’s sports facilities into the 21st Century.
The News is urging South Lanarkshire Council to back East Kilbride Community Trust’s plans for a community stadium in Langlands.
Despite no public funding being needed for this stadium, the Trust has endured a five-year struggle to get councillors to engage with their ambitions.
But on May 25 their plans for a 4000-seater sporting hub will go before the local authority.
Now in week three of our campaign, EK Sports Council treasurer Bob Anderson reckons for a town with some 90,000 residents, East Kilbride is bereft of top class facilities.
And the 74-year-old, from Calderwood, wants the council to get behind the plans, which he believes will revitalise our sporting community.
He told the News: “From the Sports Council’s point of view, the amount of good facilities in East Kilbride – for a town of its size – are very small.
“If we want to move into the 21st Century, this new stadium can be a step in that direction.
“You look at the John Wright Sports Centre in Calderwood.
“It’s the town’s main sporting facility, but it’s a 1970s building with flat roofs and some parts of it are out of commission.
“It’s a very old building in need of repair and due to cutbacks the council don’t have the funds in their budget to give it the upgrade it needs.
“Anything they can do for it is just a patchwork job. They can’t afford the major overhaul it needs.
“But in Langlands, the Trust are offering to build a totally new facility for the community at no cost to the public, so why has this taken so long?
“The Sports Council are in the business of promoting sport and local athletes and the Trust have come along proposing to bring a first-class facility to the town.
“So we would be happy to get involved and help them out for the good of the town.
“No one else has come forward to offer the community this kind of facility.”
Mr Anderson attended the Trust’s public consultation in January, which showcased the various elements envisaged for the community stadium.
The main aspect of the development is an 11-a-side artificial football pitch and this would enable East Kilbride Football Club to move from their current home at K-Park in Calderglen.
But the whole community would also have access to the pitch and various other facilities.
The proposed sports hub would boast a multi-sports hall, boxing arena, conference and function suites, a fitness centre and facilities for children with additional support needs.
“I feel it is something that is not just for football,” said Mr Anderson, who has been on the Sports Council for almost 30 years.
“A lot of people might say the new stadium is just another K-Park, but it’s a level up from that.
“This stadium is for the benefit of the community and it can be used for a variety of sports.
“The bottom line is it will cost the community absolutely nothing – so I don’t know why the council haven’t supported the idea in the past. The proposals are great, so let’s welcome this project and get behind the Trust.”