A burgeoning Perth sports club has won permission to keep its floodlit all-weather pitch open an hour later each night.
Seven Acres is home to all manner of Letham Community Sports Club’s boys and girls teams, plays host to Perthshire Rugby Club and will soon welcome teams from Fair City FC thanks to a merger.
The impressive £750,000 facility has been a huge boon for the community since it was completed and is in almost constant use.
The additional hour will enable the club to make full use of the surface and ensure that everyone who wants to use it can do so.
Following objections during the original planning application for construction of the pitch, the club was initially required to turn the lights off at 9pm.
The club was subsequently allowed to undertake a year-long trial, enabling it to keep Seven Acres open until 10pm to allow the impact of the change to be assessed.
Now, with the year having passed without incident or complaint, the club has now secured permission from Perth and Kinross to have the change made permanent.
Letham’s Club President, Ken Drummond, was delighted with the outcome saying: “This decision is a massive boost to our club and the hard-working volunteers who run it.
“It will allow them the time and space to focus on delivering the best possible coaching and support to the many young people who are members of the club.
“It’s important to also note that the facility is more than just a football pitch. It can be used for hockey, rugby, lacrosse and so much more.
“The longer we are open at peak times the more people doing all sorts of active pursuits can get access to this wonderful facility.”
The bid to make the change permanent attracted 26 public comments — with three objectors and 23 writing to the council in its support.
Objections raised concerns of light pollution and anti-social behaviour — similar to those raised ahead of the pitch’s construction.
Supporters, however, highlighted the benefits of healthy activities being carried out in a safe and supervised environment for both members of the club and the wider community.
One said: “My son spends a large majority of his time at the 3G pitch when not in school. I’m far happier knowing where he is than being bored on a street corner.”
Perth City North Councillor Elspeth Maclachlan joined club officials in asking elected members on the council’s development management committee to recognise the benefits of organised sporting activity and the importance of allowing the club and it’s users to retain the additional capacity created by the 10pm closing time.
Club Secretary Jon Kidd said: “The pitch was funded by a number of charitable bodies such as Sport Scotland and the Gannochy and Robertson trusts, so it is vital that we make the very best use of the first class facility they have given us.
“To that end we will be working over the coming weeks and months to ensure that all manner of community groups — such as nursery’s, groups for the elderly, ethnic minorities and many more — can hold activities on a regular or one-off basis at Seven Acres.
“We can’t express enough our gratitude to the councillors for supporting us in our aims.”