Crumbling changing rooms and public toilets at some of Birmingham’s parks and playing fields need to be improved if the council wants to attract more people to open spaces.

City council officers pledged their support to improving the facilities at a leisure, sport and culture overview scrutiny committee meeting yesterday.

There are more than 427 parks and playing fields in the city, including those wholly owned and run by the council, and those run in conjunction with schools, colleges, private organisations, sports clubs and the voluntary sector.

Councillors were told the main problem at the sites were a lack of facilities, such as changing rooms for those using the sports pitches, and public toilets. But committee chairman Coun John Alden said improvements to such facilities should be a priority if they wanted local people to use their open spaces again.

“We have got to do something to make sure our parks and playing fields are improved,” he said. “If they are, more people will use them. One way of doing this is to put in more changing rooms and toilet facilities.”

Councillors heard how many parks and pitches had lost their changing rooms due to vandalism or falling into disrepair. These included:

n Cofton Park in Longbridge which has three football and three cricket pitches but changing facilities condemned as “inadequate”.

n In Bartley Green, Senneleys Park is used by athletics clubs and has three football and one mini pitch yet its changing room is falling apart and has a roof which is nearly caving in.

n In Shard End, Norman Chamberlain Playing Fields, which has one senior, two junior and one mini football pitch, has lost its changing rooms because of vandalism.

n Ward End Park has one football pitch and a cricket pitch but no toilets or changing facilities.

Coun Alden said: “We are going to have to work on a concerted effort to get these facilities improved.”