A call has been made for a better pétanque piste in Musselburgh.

The boules game has been regularly played by members of the local twinning association during the summer months on a “small piste squeezed in” next to the tennis courts in Lewisvale Park, which is provided by East Lothian Council.

But its temporary closure due to the tennis club pavilion being replaced, together with the “impossibility” of staging larger matches, has led the association to call for a “much better and larger facility” like those in a number of nearby towns.

Barry Turner, president of Musselburgh Twinning Association, told the Courier: “Pétanque is a popular game in France and it is catching on here in Scotland but Musselburgh is missing out in not having a decent playing area.

“Go to Haddington, Dunbar, Newtongrange, Penicuik and Roslin and you will see wonderful large pistes on which a number of teams can play at the same time. Another is about to be provided in Dalkeith, funded by the town’s equivalent of our Common Good fund. So why not Musselburgh, where we have what can only be described as an inadequate facility?

“If we had what the other towns have, we could attract more players, set up a club and hold inter-town tournaments as part of a proposed Lothian league. A good piste in one of the town’s public open spaces would cost £10,000 to £12,000, requires little maintenance and would be available free of charge to all-comers.

“This sociable, easy-to-play game is particularly attractive to older folk. All you need for a game is a set of boules, which cost about £20.

“We have been told by the council that if we can get a sizeable club going then a better piste might be possible. But we are in a catch-22 situation because we cannot interest enough people without a better piste.”

He pointed out that, in June, the twinning association had a party coming from its twinned town of Champigny, near Paris, and some games of pétanque with other twinning associations were in the programme.

He said that Musselburgh would like to host the games for its visitors but, even if the “modest” Lewisvale Park piste were available, games would only be possible by travelling to Haddington and Newtongrange in order to use the “excellent facilities” available there.

An East Lothian Council spokesperson said: “The council’s club and community sport officer has been liaising with the group regarding the current piste within Lewisvale Park.

“The immediate focus has been how to accommodate key dates for the club whilst the adjacent new tennis pavilion is built and officers will continue to engage regarding the wider aspirations for alternative provision.”