CRAIGAVON Borough Council has changed its mind on plans to increase prices for Mid-Ulster football teams who use the 3G pitch at Brownstown Park.
The council had originally planned on bringing to an end a 50 per cent temporary price reduction this month, but an outcry from junior and senior clubs prompted a rethink from the leisure services department.
Earlier this year the Portadown Times reported that Mid-Ulster club Rectory Rangers, who are based at Brownstown Park, feared that they would have to look for alternative home grounds to survive.
At the time a spokesman for Rectory Rangers insisted the club would have to pay £840 per month inclusive of 3G training and match costs.
The council had originally planned on charging £55 per hour with floodlights for training at Brownstown and £88 across a matchday period. This compared unfavourably with pitch facilities in Banbridge and Armagh with clubs being charged £28 (peak floodlit training) or £35 for a one-hour matchday peak rate by the former while the latter charges £39.50 and £52 respectively.
However, the lesiure services department has now agreed to extend the 50 per cent reduction indefinitely in order to encourage the pitch to be used.
Other local sports clubs who use synthetic pitches across the borough are also to benefit from the decision, after it was decided that fees for competitive matches should be cut by 50 per cent.
This effectively brings the cost of pitch hiring more in line with neighbouring councils but while it is good news for football, it is less favourable for other sport clubs in the area.
The borough’s cricket clubs face a price increase over the next three years for match and training costs. In Portadown the increase will affect Laurelvale Cricket Club which uses the pitch at Tannaghmore Gardens. The club’s adult members will now pay £15 per match, rising to £20 next year and £29 in 2014-15 while young members (concession) will be charged £10, £15 and £20 respectively. Training costs for adults will also increase between from this year until from £10, £15 and £20 respectively, while young members face a price jump from £5 to £15 during the same period.
Bowling clubs face a smaller jump in prices with a £5 increase being imposed on season tickets for its adult members, rising from £25 this year to £30 in 2013, with concession rates rising to £20 to £25 during the same time period while pavilion hire will increase from £275 this year to £300 in 2013-14.
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