3G pitches are being built all over the UK to benefit local communities. 3G pitches are “the thing!” at the moment! The aim is to hopefully engage local youngsters with sport – mostly football – and to help, with suitable coaching, to maintain this interest into adulthood, eventually providing a larger pool of high quality “locally grown” players for league and national teams. My son-in-law coaches football with young adults on a similar pitch in the Glasgow area.

However, FIFA advises those deciding to build a 3G pitch, that apart from the initial building costs, the pitches have to be maintained, which can cost well over £10,000 a year.

They suggest that the operators of the pitch look into the possible income that could be generated before going ahead. They also advise that maintenance logs be kept to ensure weekly brushing, drag matting, localised topping up of areas like the centre spot, are carried out properly, and the removal of litter, leaves and debris.

Up to four times a year a special machine with oscillating brushes needs to be used and herbicide applied to weeds and moss. Any contaminated infill needs to be removed and replaced, as the pitch surface can harden and flooding can occur. It is suggested that a “sinking fund” be put in place of £25,000 a year, to pay for a five or six year renovation and a complete new surface after 10 years.

The lighting is also expensive and requires regular maintenance. Can the operators generate their own electricity by use of solar panels or a wind turbine?

I do not recall any information about the running costs of the pitch being made available to the public at the High School exhibition.

I understand that in England 3G pitches can confer Academy Status on a school, and even though they turn out to be under-used, that school can benefit by attracting funding for other projects. Is that a possibility here too?

Peebles has many sports pitches already, for football and rugby, including the expensively re-laid pitches recently completed at Hay Lodge Park.

Is the population of Peebles, West Linton and Innerleithen enough to generate income for the maintenance of such a large pitch? Charges at other pitches seem to vary from £20 for a lunchtime kick-about session, to over £100 per game. Will SBC pick up the tab if the income proves insufficient?

Scottish Borders Council has made, and may still make, many cut-backs in our services. Peebles has no traffic wardens now, for instance, and even though we depend a great deal on tourism, voluntary organisations such as Bonnie Peebles are being asked to take over more and more responsibility for the way our town is presented to visitors. Funding is needed for Peebles Christmas Lights etc. and lots of other activities in the town, which benefit businesses and the townspeople in general. Can we raise enough money to maintain this type of pitch as well, if SBC reduces or pulls out of funding it, in the longer term?

Last, but by no means least, what about the other half of the local population – the opposite sex, and those of us whose sporting interests lie elsewhere?

In 2012/13 a survey was carried out nationally which showed that football and rugby had declined in popularity but cycling, athletics and swimming had increased. Can we have some answers please?

I am, etc.

Alison Pearson Peebles