Alderman Stewart McDonald expresses fresh concerns about condition of Showgrounds pitch ahead of three Ballymena United home games within eight days

The Showgrounds pitch when it was officially opened last year.

A TUV councillor says there still concerns about the state of the recently-laid £250,000 pitch at Ballymena Showgrounds.

Alderman Stewart McDonald fears the condition of the playing surface could de-rail Ballymena United’s hopes of landing a first ever league title.

United play three games on the pitch within eight days, starting on Saturday March 16 against Glentoran, followed by Institute in midweek and then Warrenpoint on March 23.

Part of the pitch was believed to have been placed under a cover in recent days.

In a statement, Alderman McDonald said: “It’s now a full month since I contacted council officials with a list of very specific questions about the problems with the Showgrounds pitch. Ahead of a meeting I asked for:

“1. The record kept by the council while the work was being carried out including photographs taken at the various stages of the project.

“2. All contact made with the contractors to date seeking to get them to rectify the work.

“3. Copies of all advice provided by the contractors advising as to when the pitch would be ready to play on after being installed.

“4. Copies of all assurances obtained advising as to the life of the pitch after installation.

“All of this remains unanswered.”

The councillor said the condition of the pitch in the wake of Storm Gareth on Thursday morning this week was “frankly horrendous”.

Cllr McDonald added: “One would never have thought that £250,000 of ratepayers’ money had been spent on it. I fear that the situation could impact on Ballymena United’s season – which would be inexcusable with the team pushing for the league title.

“It is long past time for clarity on what went wrong and why.”

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