Clubs battle council plans to ‘wipe out’ Ravenscraig athletics facilities

Motherwell Athletics Club members pictured during a recent Monday night training session at Ravenscraig Sports Facility. Club bosses say that having an indoor venue is vital for them during the often harsh winter months. (Submitted pic)
Motherwell Athletics Club members pictured during a recent Monday night training session at Ravenscraig Sports Facility. Club bosses say that having an indoor venue is vital for them during the often harsh winter months. (Submitted pic)

A club coach has vowed to fight controversial council plans to virtually wipe out athletics facilities at Motherwell’s Ravenscraig Sports Facility.

Bob McCrum of Motherwell Athletics Club fears that a six-lane indoor track, high jump, long jump and throws areas could be culled so that clubs like his merely have access to just three lanes of the track at Ravenscraig.

“We understand that these potential changes are being considered by North Lanarkshire Leisure,” Bob told the Motherwell Times.

“It is extremely disappointing to note that no communication or consultation has taken place regarding the proposed alterations and restrictions.

“The changes have already started with equipment moved onto the athletics area in December and three very successful open graded competition meetings have all being cancelled as a consequence.

“These decisions over the years, including halving the run up area, have rendered them unfit for use by athletics users and has subsequently resulted in an accelerating decline in athletics use.

“The reality is that there has been a failure to work properly with the users and scottishathletics to develop a cohesive long-term strategy to develop athletics use at Ravenscraig and into the wider communities.

“Any further restrictions would be a catastrophic step for all clubs in the area and would also severely hamper the ability of a number of our up and coming athletes to compete at the highest level.”

The Motherwell Times has learned that the proposed alterations would affect several local athletics clubs also including Law and District AAC, Cumbernauld AAC, Airdrie Harriers, Hamilton and District AAC, Larkhall YMCA, East Kilbride AC and Whitemoss AAC.

The decision whether or not to approve the controversial plans will be debated by councillors at a meeting this Friday, January 26.

The clubs are being backed by scottishathletics chief executive Mark Munro, who said: “Ravenscraig is an important facility for athletics in the Lanarkshire area and was clearly identified within our 2015 National Facility Strategy as a site that should be developed further to include a 400m track and field facility outdoors in order to complete it fully as a ‘regional centre’ for athletics.

“We are in communication with the Leader of North Lanarkshire Council, the CEO of North Lanarkshire Leisure, sportscotland plus various political influencers – including the Minister for Public Health and Sport (Aileen Campbell) – to try to find a solution that meets the needs of all stakeholders.”