HELENSBURGH’S East King Street football pitches could soon be in use once again after the council confirmed repairs were taking place to the changing rooms.

The grass playing fields at the town centre location have lain unused by teams since before lockdown, with the changing rooms unusable due to vandalism and flooding.

However, a councillor for the town recently said that he had met with local sports clubs regarding use of the playing fields and pavilion.

And an Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson has confirmed that repairs are in progress and that there was “growing demand” for the pavilion’s use.

Writing a recent column in the Advertiser, Helensburgh Central SNP Councillor Ian MacQuire said: “I had a meeting last Friday with representatives of Helensburgh FC, Ardencaple FC, and two council managers in regards to reopening the changing facilities at East King Street football parks.

“I am delighted to say that the council have agreed to repair the roof and make the building secure and watertight.

“They will then cut the grass and line the pitches to enable the football clubs to play at East King Street for the first time in more than four years. The long-term goal is for the grass pitches to be replaced with 5G all-weather pitches.”

A council spokesperson then said: “We are in the process of carrying out repairs to the pavilion which had become unusable due to vandalism and water ingress.

“There is a growing demand for its use and we have been in discussions with local football teams about how we work together to improve and sustainably manage our sporting assets.”

Another Helensburgh Central councillor, Labour’s Fiona Howard, made a bid for the renovation of the football pitches and pavilion to be made a council priority in November.

However, council leader Robin Currie (Kintyre and the Islands, Liberal Democrat) said that the matter would be better raised at local level.

Councillor Howard said: “I am delighted that the work has begun on the East King Street Park, I raised this issue when I was first elected and have been asking for the park to be given some priority so that our young footballers can once again enjoy the thrill and experience of playing in league matches.

"This is a great thing for the future of the local football clubs and for the future of football in the town.”

Paul Campbell, chair of Helensburgh FC, said: "I have been speaking with the council since May last year to try to find a way to get the pitches back open.

"We managed to get Bendarroch at Garelochhead open as a temporary measure. Both Helensburgh and Ardencaple have sat down again with council officials and are happy to see that work has started in making the changing block wind and water tight. 

"Both clubs will be continuing discussions to find a way forward to work in partnership with the council to ensure that we can all get the pitches back open and used for football and other activities as soon as possible."