Pitching for sports grounds
A LACK of sports facilities in the East Riding has been debated in Parliament.
Football teams in the Beverley area say there are not enough available pitches.
Concerns have also been raised about boxing facilities in Withernsea.
Now Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart has asked a parliamentary question to the Under Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in support of the need for improved access to sporting facilities across his constituency.
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Mr Stuart said: "Sports club officers have written to me with concerns over a lack of access to sporting facilities in the constituency, from football pitches in Beverley to amateur boxing facilities in Withernsea.
"We have a clear understanding of the health and social benefits from playing sport; people must not be prevented from taking part because facilities are not available."
Mr Stuart, who is also the vice-chairman of Eastside Community Sports Association in Saltend, asked the minister: "What steps he is taking to ensure that participants in club-level sport have access to suitable and sustainable facilities?"
Hugh Robertson MP, responded: "Sport England's Places People Play programme has already helped to upgrade and improve 732 local sports facilities as part of the London 2012 sports legacy, including three projects in my Honourable Friend's constituency. In addition, it has invested more than £20m in 12 new large-scale multi-sport facilities."
Mr Stuart's question followed concerns that adult football teams in Beverley are being squeezed out and others forced to play home fixtures out of town.
Clubs hope land can be found for at least one new pitch in the town, perhaps as part of a wider planning application or possibly with a landowner being offered attractive terms to lease out land.
Raoul Lempriere, chairman of Beverley Town Football Club, said: "There are three pitches publicly available for teams.
"I've played for teams in the past that had to travel to Cottingham or Tickton to get a pitch.
"There are not enough pitches in Beverley. We're flagging it up so people are aware there's an issue."
Mr Stuart has been joined in his efforts by East Riding councillors such as David Elvidge.
The Beverley MP asked Mr Robertson: "Does the minister agree that local councillors have a big part to play and will he join me in congratulating Councillor David Elvidge and other Conservative councillors in Beverley who are working hard to find additional football pitches in that area?
"Mike Bryan and other councillors in the Hedon area are supporting Eastside Community Sports, and many clubs are doing much good work, making a real difference and building on the Olympic legacy."
Mr Robertson said: "I absolutely agree, and the two important points are, first, that local councils prioritise that issue. We all know that the economic climate is tough, but they have had a fantastic launch pad through London 2012 and it is now up to them to make it work.
"Secondly, councils will need the support of local volunteers. I am delighted to also congratulate the people mentioned by my Honourable Friend."