Flying balls cause chaos

PUBLISHED: 10:00 21 October 2010




FLYING balls from a village cricket club are causing chaos for residents in North Somerset.

Smashed roof tiles and windows, damaged cars and a near miss with a child are just a few examples of disruption caused by the soaring red balls from Banwell and Churchill Cricket Club.

Residents, victims, members of the Churchill Parish Council leisure committee, the cricket club and bosses from English Rural Housing Assocation (ERHA) met on Monday night to discuss the issue.

Members felt the 10m netting surrounding the pitch, which is based at the recreation ground in Churchill, needed to be heightened to stop any more incidents involving the homes owned by ERHA in Turnpike Close.

Chair of the council, Jackie Bush, said: “It only takes one ball to hit a child and it’s the person that hit that ball that would feel bad.”

Members said they were disappointed that North Somerset Council had ‘refused’ to attend the meeting as they had many questions over planning permission for a higher net.

Treasurer of the cricket club, Dave Eckett, said: “A 10m net was never going to be a solution so if it can be heightened then we are open to that idea.

“But even so the risk of a ball going over will never completely be eliminated. Our players’ first concern is children.

“We are flexible and willing to talk and will be happy with whatever arrangement is decided as best.”

Moving the wicket had proved unsuccessful but members suggested that residents could move their cars each time a game was played.

Turnpike Close resident Naftali Onchere, who had a window smashed by a ball, stressed that this would not always be practical.

The 47-year-old said: “My daughter would not be too happy if I kept moving her car if she was out and what if I am out when a game is on.”

It was decided the parish council would contact a local farmer whose land adjoins the cricket club, to see if they could shift the pitch further over onto his land. They may also submit another planning application for a higher net although they felt it was unlikely that this would be successful.

Louise Davidson, from ERHA, said: “We will be consulting with the residents of Turnpike Close shortly and will be seeking further expert advice on the situation to help in finding a way forward.”

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