Leisure centre pitch plan is set to court controversy

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An Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council plan which seems set to turn the all-weather pitch at Banbridge Leisure Centre into tennis courts has been revealed.

It’s a move that is set to court controversy with the pitch being heavily used by local footballers and with the council having denied it had any such plans less than two months ago.

At that stage, when contacted by the Leader about rumours of the pitch closing a council spokesman said: “There are no plans to close the Banbridge Leisure Centre all weather pitch.

“This, as with all surfaces of this type, will need to be refurbished or indeed replaced at some point in the future as is the case with other synthetic surfaces in the Borough, however no decisions have been taken on the scope or timescales of any works to these pitches to date.”

When contacted by The Leader this week, no-one at the council was available to comment on the matter but Banbridge DUP Councillor Junior McCrum confirmed the scheme was to go ahead.

He said: “This is a significant investment for the Banbridge Town Leisure Centre.

The tennis courts will be moved from their present location beside the King George V Bowling Pavilion to Banbridge Leisure Centre and will incorporate three courts approved to LTA standard (synthetic playing surface) something which the King George V Bowling Pavilion cannot facilitate and also the upgrade of the flood lighting and a small pavilion to accommodate the waiting customers.”

He added: “The new sport introduced to the Banbridge Leisure Centre and the upgraded venue will provide an excellent base for both public tennis and Banbridge Tennis Club.

“This has been welcomed by Banbridge DUP ABC councillors as a great plus for the town. Having spoken to representatives from the tennis club they are delighted.

“The council will now go to a tender process to allocate a contractor to do this work.”