Clubs, schools, players and the community stand to benefit after exciting plans for a new 3G community sports pitch in Melrose were given the go-ahead.
Scottish Borders Council gave its support to the project this week, meaning an all-year round playing surface will be installed at the Greenyards this year.
Chairman of Melrose RFC, Gordon Brown, said: “This has been a long-standing ambition of the club since the launch of our Legacy project in 2017.
“The new 3G pitch will allow the club to continue competing at the highest level as well as being an incredible asset that will enable other sporting activities and events.
“It will mark an exciting new chapter for us as we open our doors to the local community and others in the surrounding area.”
Work is expected to get underway in July and the facility is due to open in November 2019. The project is led by Scottish Borders Council and Melrose Rugby with support from Scottish Rugby.
The pitch plans, which will include new floodlighting and a spectator walkway, are expected to result in a considerable increase in sports participation at all levels and will also assist Melrose Rugby with its aims of becoming more community focused and sustaining its long term future.
Scottish Borders Council’s Convener, councillor David Parker, who was heavily involved in negotiations to secure the new 3G pitch at Melrose, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to reach a point where we can invest in the next 3G pitch in the Scottish Borders in Melrose.
“The Council has a proud track record of delivering community synthetic pitches across the Scottish Borders and the Melrose proposal will make a significant difference to sports clubs in the town.
“The pitch is owned by the Ormiston Trust, whose sole aim is to make sure that it provides important community facilities for all and this community investment in Melrose will certainly do that.”
The club has already carried out consultation with the community and stakeholders such as the Scottish Football Association, charity Live Borders, local schools, sports clubs and traders, who have been supportive of the 3G project.
The project has been inspired by a number of other successful 3G pitch projects involving other sports clubs in the Scottish Borders such as Netherdale in Galashiels, the home of Gala Fairydean Rovers, where now over 1000 football and rugby players use the facility every week.
Scottish Rugby’s David Drummond said: “Scottish Rugby believes this move to a 3G surface is a positive step at the Greenyards to help the rugby club and the wider sporting and local community enjoy access on a more regular basis, together with the subsequent health benefits that will bring.
“This opportunity in the Borders is another example of Scottish Rugby investing to help clubs become more sustainable and have high-quality facilities to engage existing and future players.”