RESIDENTS have shown a red card to an East Renfrewshire football club’s bid to adopt a public park as its new home.

St Cadoc’s Youth Club, based in Newton Mearns, want to convert playing fields at Crookfur into two all-weather pitches, with floodlighting, for their 750 players.

The proposals also include a car park, pavilion and changing rooms.

However, a petition against the club’s plans has already gained more than 1,400 signatures.

Campaigners say the pitches would mean a loss of public access to the land and remove a vital green space.

St Cadoc’s adult side joined the West of Scotland Football League last year, which is the sixth tier of Scottish football.

The league includes well-supported teams such as Irvine Meadow and some locals fear disruption on matchdays.

Tom Taylor, of the Save Crookfur Park campaign group, said: “We’re perturbed that the council are talking about disposing of the land and taking it out of public hands.

“This will effectively become a home ground for the club. It means the last remaining section of this old park will be lost for recreation to the public. This is a piece of community land which has been in public ownership for a very long time. We want it to stay that way.”

St Cadoc’s are being offered a 25-year lease, at a rent of £1 a year, by East Renfrewshire Council.

The club already gets priority booking of the pitch at nearby Eastwood High School for training sessions.

At present, the senior team play their home games at the ground of St Anthony’s FC, in Govan, while the youth teams play at different venues.

Crookfur Park campaigners have been posting flyers through the doors of local residents to bring the pitch proposals to their attention.

Mr Taylor added: “The council must take on board all the objections.

“The development will also spoil a lot of views that people enjoy from their homes.

“We are told the club will run seven nights a week and all day Sunday and Saturday. We have also been told they have ambitions to become a major football club and this will become their home ground.

“There are further fears that fans of other clubs arriving at the ground on matchdays will cause disruption and disorder.

“Our main concern, however, is the loss of this valued open green space which was gifted to the public.

“Rather than this being a community initiative, it is beginning to look more like a commercial money-making venture.”

A spokesperson for East Renfrewshire Council said: “These proposed plans are at a very early stage and no decision has been taken.

“A public consultation on the matter will be held this summer, where the local community will have an opportunity to have their say.”

East Renfrewshire club has big ambitions

St CADOC’S was formed in 1987 by David Jones, janitor at St Cadoc’s Primary School, and has since grown into a large community sports club that offers football and netball.

At present, it has 13 youth teams, ranging in ages from five to 18, as well as an adult team.

St Cadoc’s has said its plans for the Crookfur site would “create a facility that greatly benefits the entire community.”

A spokesperson added: “We invite everyone with an interest in community, sport, health and wellbeing to support our club and this fantastic plan to increase sports provision in Newton Mearns for all.

“St Cadoc’s are grateful to Barrhead Youth Football Club, Arthurlie Juniors and coaches from Giffnock Soccer Club for their letters of support.

“We look forward to providing more detail in the coming weeks.”