THE poor are being excluded from new sporting facilities built to provide a legacy to the Commonwealth Games because the cost of using them is too high, MSPs have been told.

David Smith, chairman of Drumchapel Community Sports Hub, complained of a "postcode lottery" of access to sport across Scotland and said that investment in infrastructure in Glasgow was often benefitting those from further afield, rather than members of the deprived areas where centres were based.

The row came as it emerged that Glasgow Life, the council's arms-length firm that runs sports facilities, have written to football clubs in the west of the city telling them that their long-standing bookings, which saw clubs rent pitches at a special 11-a-side match price and use them for training, would not be renewed so slots can instead be offered to private customers at more lucrative rates.

Mr Smith told Holyrood's Health and Sport Committee, which was taking evidence on the legacy of Glasgow 2014, that higher costs meant grassroots clubs were looking to the private sector for cheaper alternatives.

He told MSPs: "We now have fantastic resources that are the pride of the communities... it's everything you dream of as a volunteer and people love being there. But now the issue is being priced out of using those facilities.

"People are travelling from other parts of Glasgow or outwith Glasgow to use them. I don't have an issue with that. But surely the people in that community should have the opportunity to get on to these surfaces and use the equipment that's been bought. That's certainly not the case, which is tragic."

Seven-a-side astroturf football pitches in Glasgow cost more than £36 per hour for children's clubs. Mr Smith said that in other parts of Scotland, they were offered to under 16s clubs for free. In the neighbouring West Dunbartonshire, the cost is under £15.

He said it was particularly hard to pass costs on to families in Drumchapel, where almost half of children live in poverty and nearly seven in ten families do not have access to a car.

A spokesman for Glasgow Life said the city was "leading the way" in improving access to sport facilities, with free swimming, golf, tennis and bowls programmes attended by 322,000 people last year. A "free football happy hour" for under 18s has also been introduced.

The spokesman added: "Sports participation levels in Glasgow are at an all-time high with over 6.6 million attendances at our facilities last year. Membership of the Glasgow Club is also increasing every month as more and more people in Glasgow enjoy the benefits of using some of the best equipped and most accessible facilities anywhere in the country."