More than 1500 people have signed a petition calling for council bosses to halt the handover of a much-loved community asset to a hockey club.

Campaigners are fighting to save Ralston Community Sports Centre amid a proposal by Renfrewshire Council to hive it off to Kelburn HC, who would turn it into their new £600,000 base.

Residents say it could be the death knell for local community organisations, leaving hundreds of youngsters with nowhere to train or play.

We revealed protestors’ plight earlier this week, and yesterday a petition with the names of over 1500 people opposing the plan was delivered to the local authority’s headquarters in Paisley’s Cotton Street.

READ MORE: Residents rally against plan to hand over green space

The document was submitted by Ralston community councillors Alison Scott and May Ferrie, alongside Conservative councillor Neill Graham and Norrie Murray of Ralston Skills, one of the youth football organisations who rely on the facility.

Russell Findlay MSP joined them and other residents to send a message to council chiefs that locals are determined to send the fight for the community football facility into extra time.

He said: “This issue has angered locals whose grassroots campaign has secured widespread backing, as can be seen be the sheer volume of signatures.

“People are determined to protect their remaining green spaces and their community hubs, especially as we emerge from a pandemic and given the importance of keeping people active. The people have spoken and not it is up to the council to listen.”

The petition has been signed by over 35% of householders in the Ralston area and local councillor Graham believes this shows the strength of opposition to the proposal.

He added: “All of those involved should be proud of the message they have sent. I’ve never seen a response like it locally. The right thing for the administration to do is sit up and listen.”

Kelburn Hockey Club’s Billy Anderson said: “We recognise this is a major change, but we believe we can deliver benefits to the local community as a responsible tenant.”

Mr Anderson previously said the club will continue to cater for football on the grass area, which “can be used and booked at any time for juniors and senior matches”.

He added: “We are committed to a wide range of use and availability of the community greenspace and we will continue to make that available to local residents.”