Clubs' playing field bid meets village opposition

PUBLISHED: 07:00 09 January 2012

The clubs initially made their proposal to the council in October

The clubs initially made their proposal to the council in October

Archant

A BID by two sports clubs to take over the running of a village's playing fields has been met with staunch opposition from locals.

Belvedere Cricket Club and Mendip Girls Football Club, which are both without homes, have applied to Locking Parish Council to run the village’s playing fields.

But at a public meeting held on Thursday the bid was met with resistance from village residents, with some saying the ground is unsuitable for intensified sporting activities and others accusing them of trying to take away amenities for village residents.

The clubs originally made the proposal to the authority in October, and James Lucas, of Mendip Girls, and Sam Neat and Nick Chadwick, of Belvedere, made a brief presentation to members of the community at the village hall.

With the playing fields in poor condition and costing the parish council £12,000 a year to maintain, the clubs said they would improve the playing surfaces and changing rooms, as well as building a new clubhouse which food and drink could be served in.

The fields are currently used by different sporting teams from the village, while they are also booked out to teams from outside the village.

Some of the funding for the project, which it is currently estimated may cost around £1million, could be gained from Somerset County Cricket Club and the Somerset Football Association.

Mr Lucas said: “We feel passionately that we can provide better facilities which can be enjoyed by both the clubs and local residents. We want the local community to be involved in this as much as possible.”

But residents raised a variety of different concerns, with some voicing their apprehension that the changes would lead to the facilities becoming available only to members of the clubs.

One, Tim Raines, said the condition of the ground might not be good enough for further sporting activities than those played on them.

He added: “There’s also an awful lot of work that needs to be done to drain the fields. Before anything we need a proper business plan to see how everything can be paid for.

Another Dan Evans, said: “My main concern is what would happen if there are two or three clubs who want to play on the fields at the same time.”

The clubs will now prepare a plan ahead of any formal application, while the parish council will continue to discuss the project.

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