A PETITION calling for more outdoor concrete basketball or football astro-turf areas in Urmston, Flixton and Davyhulme is gathering pace.

Mike Meikleham lived in Urmston for more than 25 years but recently moved to Amsterdam and has been ‘overwhelmed’ by the amount of cages and artificial turf pitches available to play and there are more than 100 within 84.7 miles of the capital.

He added that Sport England had earmarked £55 million to ‘fund new and innovative ways to keep people active’ and he believes these facilities could do that.

The 25-year-old has created the petition to submit it to Mayor Andy Burnham and Kate Green MP demanding some of the money is used for cage facilities.

He said: “So far we have had 400 people signing up, which is one per cent of the Urmston population but if we can get a couple of thousand that would be significant support for the idea and it cannot be ignored. I have been really surprised by the support in seven days and it now needs to get the support of people in authority.

“There are three facilities like this in Urmston and I am well aware of the outdoor sporting facilities that are on offer and with a large amount of fields usually flooded due to the Manchester climate or poor drainage.

“Kids cannot simply take a ball for a kick about anymore. Moreover, football posts are taken down from local fields by the council during school summer holidays, a time where they are needed the most.

""Growing up I would always play football on the street with my friends.

"But with the average car ownership per household rising 13 per cent and registered vehicles on the road increasing by 7,482,899 since the start of the century it is no longer safe to do so.

"Mums and dads have spent quarantine installing artificial turf in their back garden with nets just so their children can play sport. This should not be necessary, these facilities should be provided by the council.

"Grassroots is the backbone of English Sport and the decline in interest on this topic is profound. Having to rely on willing and motivated parents to volunteer and run local sports clubs and organisations is starting to become a burden as well as having a negative impact on that individual’s mental health.

"These facilities should be on our doorstep and available to everyone.

"I am proposing that a small percentage of the National Lottery fund available via Sport England is utilised by installing a minimum of 20 concrete multi-purpose football or basketball cages around the Urmston area.

"I know 20 may be a bit ambitious but there is funding for schools to improve and if they are on school sites it would be achievable.

"I have been speaking to Rob Chilton about it and he said it was an exciting idea but I need to speak to Trafford Leisure and some councillors about it."

To sign the petition then visit the website http://chng.it/Qx7YfYNkg6