Council confirms plans for new 3G pitch in Berwick

Plans to deliver a new 3G synthetic sports pitch in Berwick have been welcomed by the local county councillor.

Monday, 24th September 2018, 08:44 am
Georgina Hill

Northumberland County Council leader Peter Jackson confirmed the plans at last week’s cabinet meeting in Berwick.

It would be provided as part of the proposed £20million investment in a new leisure centre. The site is still to be confirmed, although it is likely to be in close proximity but not necessarily on the Swan Centre site.

However, the announcement was overshadowed by many residents’ dismay at the lack of discussion on plans for a new hospital.

Coun Georgina Hill, member for Berwick East, has expressed her disappointment at the way the announcement was received.

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“The health and hospital issue is extremely emotive,” she admitted at a meeting of Berwick Town Council’s planning committee.

“Leaving that aside, it was announced at the (cabinet) meeting that Berwick is getting a 3G pitch.

“Berwick Regeneration Commission has been meeting with the Football Foundation in Northumberland and lobbying hard to get that for Berwick. There are members of the public, such as Sharon and David Buglass and, particularly, Stuart Coyle, who put the business case together. and it was extremely disappointing for him that the news was heckled. Credit should be given to those members of the public who have worked hard to get it.”

Coun Hill has also expressed concern that the public backlash against plans for an integrated health and leisure development at the Swan Centre site could derail a £45million investment in the town.

On her public Facebook page, she write: ‘Berwick looked ridiculous from the outside when it appeared from the meeting on Monday that residents actually opposed investment in to the town (after decades of us getting absolutely nothing) A £25m new hospital, a £20m new leisure centre and a 3G pitch. When has Berwick ever had this level of investment/delivery !?’

‘Do those who heckled, and otherwise give the impression that we oppose investment, consider they might have actually made it harder for us to pitch for more money in future for Berwick (which might suit certain people’s political agendas) - who has ever heard of a public backlash after getting a £45m investment?’

Kirsty Jamieson, co-founder of campaign group, A Better Hospital for Berwick, also attended the planning committee meeting and reiterated that the group had no political allegiance.

“None of us have a problem with the investment, we welcome it wholeheartedly” she said. “We are also not opposed to having a 3G pitch.

“The specific issue we are campaigning on is that there’s no transparency.”