Cheddar football club hits back over ground sale criticism

PUBLISHED: 15:00 27 October 2011

Archant

THE chairman of a local football club criticised for selling its ground to a major supermarket launched a staunch defence of its decision at a parish council meeting yesterday.

Steve Bayliss, chairman of Cheddar FC, was joined by representatives from Tesco and consultation group Sports Solutions, who defended the club’s plans to sell their Bowdens Park ground to Tesco.

The club promised a full consultation with the public after the terms of the deal, which was revealed last week, have been agreed with Tesco.

Anna Kocerhan, from Sports Solutions, said: “The Club recognised a number of years ago that each year was becoming tougher to survive, to generate income to run the facility and to continue to provide opportunities for young people in Cheddar to play football.

“In addition to a strong senior set up, the youth and junior football club has been growing and creating more and more opportunities for young boys and girls to play football and are now reaching a real issue in terms of having facilities to play and train at.

“This should be provided here, where they live.”

She said that the club tried to sell the ground to housing developers, but several deals fell through.

Mr Bayliss said: “We know that there is a retail demand here and quite possibly it is only a question of ‘who, how and when’ as opposed to ‘if’ this is sought in Cheddar.

For us it is a question of ensuring, as the custodians of Cheddar FC’s assets, we do what we believe is in the interests of the Club’s future.”

Council chairman Lyn Goodfellow said that having a public discussion at the meeting would not be constructive and that there will be a meeting set up to discuss the developments.

The meeting will take place on a Monday evening in the next few weeks, though the date has not yet been set.

Members of the public will be invited to speak at the meeting and ask the football club and Tesco representatives about their plans.

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