‘We fear for the future of sport in Hitchin’ – hundreds of children set to suffer after college gives notice to stop hosting football clubs

PUBLISHED: 16:54 20 January 2017 | UPDATED: 16:55 20 January 2017

Hitchin Town Youth Under-15s

Hitchin Town Youth Under-15s

Archant

A well-used sports facility in Hitchin is set to close its doors to a number of sports clubs including numerous youth and adult football teams.

In a letter seen by the Comet, North Herts College’s sports centre on Cambridge Road informed a number of groups on Tuesday they are refusing to take further bookings after February 26.

Representatives from the college – whose mission statement includes the aims of ‘accountability and integrity’ – are set to attend a meeting about the closure of the facility at the college at 6pm on Monday.

However, the decision has been met with shock and concern by many sporting teams in and around Hitchin who face challenges in finding alternative venues which are value for money.

Paul Males, youth chairman of Hitchin Town FC, said: “As a community club we are extremely worried about this decision – which will have far-reaching consequences for the future provision of sport in Hitchin.

“For us as a club it will affect more than 300 children from five youth teams – our U7s, U9s, U11s, U12s and U14s.

“It appears the decision has been taken by someone without due regard for sport in the town as it means we can’t even complete the season.

“We are asking for urgent talks with the college to try and come to some sort of arrangement as many families are absolutely gobsmacked at the proposed closure of what is a much-used sporting hub – not only for adults but a huge amount of children too.

“Our community will suffer as a result of this.”

The college’s assistant principle Sarah Robins said in the letter: “We have taken the difficult decision to close the centre as a commercial sporting venue and would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

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