A PLAN to turn derelict sports pitches into an orchard has been submitted in a bid to stop commercial development in a park.

Conservation group Friends of Victoria Park (FoVP) want to start a community trust to build and maintain an orchard at the former blaes pitches within the green space.

The space was put up for lease by property firm Ryden, which marketed it online as "commercial development land" on behalf of Glasgow City Council.

The council said last year it was considering renting out park facilities to generate funds.

A report by Ryden suggested the Victoria Park land could be the site of a pub, restaurant, garden centre, shop, market or soft-play area.

The closing date for registering interest in the land was today at noon.

Members of the group yesterday delivered their detailed proposal for the orchard, which they estimate would cost around £230,000, to Ryden's city centre office - and took a box of apples for the staff.

Richard East from the group, said: "We are not looking at the council to put ­money in. We are looking to raise the money ourselves through lottery funding or trusts.

"We want to work with the council and would look for them to be partners with us.

"This is about the community involvement and getting more people into this wonderful park."

Cathie Russell added: "The returns are enormous in terms of environmental biodiversity. We want to see it be used by everyone in the community."

The move came after 340 supporters turned up last Sunday to join hands round the park in a protest at the development move.

FoVP's Robert Mellish said: "Any proposals that involve putting up commercial buildings on the site such as a pub or garden centre would face huge hurdles as this ground is not zoned for development in the council's own planning policies and we would fight such a move every step of the way."