Hitchin Town v Luton Town parking ban is ‘latest in long line of North Herts District Council blunders’

Brett Donnelly of Hitchin celebrates scoring Hitchin's second goal with team mates

Brett Donnelly of Hitchin celebrates scoring Hitchin's second goal with team mates - Credit: Archant

Fans are in uproar after North Herts District Council banned cars from using Butts Close as an overspill car park ahead of Hitchin Town’s big pre-season friendly with Luton Town of League Two this evening.

The council contacted the Canaries, who are based in Fishponds Road, demanding they ban supporters from parking on the 11-acre playing fields opposite Top Field - where it is reputed Henry VIII once fired archery butts.

The council has already attracted the ire of long-suffering taxpayers through budget overspends concerning the ongoing Hitchin Town Hall and museum fiasco, the lack of action on Churchgate, as well as closing children’s playgrounds and removing dog bins while voting themselves pay rises of up to 20 per cent.

And this current ‘blunder’ has been blasted by supporters.

Hitchin Town fan Paul Croft told the Comet ahead of kick off: “It just seems like it’s the latest in a long line of blunders by the council that have a detrimental knock-on effect to people in the town.

“I use the swimming centre and the gym and it’s hard to find a space in the car park at the best of times – let alone for more than 1,000 football fans tonight. It’s very odd.

“I just hope the council can see sense and change their mind and back Hitchin Town rather than making life difficult for fans.”

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The Comet contacted the district council for a comment this evening ahead of the match at Top Field, expected to attract more than 1,000 fans, including a sizeable contingent from the Canaries’ Bedfordshire neighbours.

The statement said: “At the moment the council has decided that no parking will take place on Butts Close.

“The council is working with Stevenage Leisure Limited to agree the best approach to take for this land during busy days as we are aware there is limited parking available near by.

“Although parking is at a premium, users of the facility are able to park at the football club which is free, and the Lairage car park that is pay and display, if the pool car park is full.

“We hope to work together with SLL to resolve this issue and find an approach that will protect the park and its users, whilst ensuring swimmers have good access to the facility.”

Kick off tonight is at 7.45pm.

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