Pitch battle

PUBLISHED: 17:31 05 October 2006 | UPDATED: 10:57 06 May 2010

The Fairfield Road Recreation Ground

The Fairfield Road Recreation Ground

A COUNCIL has shown the red card to an appeal for two mini football pitches. Biggleswade town councillors rejected the request from Biggleswade United Football Club for the pitches to be used by its under-nine and under-10 teams. What was to have been a f

A COUNCIL has shown the red card to an appeal for two mini football pitches.

Biggleswade town councillors rejected the request from Biggleswade United Football Club for the pitches to be used by its under-nine and under-10 teams.

What was to have been a field of dreams for the youngsters has now become a nightmare.

The council says the field United wanted to use at Fairfield Road Recreation Ground is dedicated to cricket. United play on a bottom part of the recreation ground and there is no room for more pitches.

Biggleswade Town Cricket Club say they are pleased the council has hit the pitch plans for six with Saturday skipper and club treasurer Matthew Twigg saying: "The whole idea was this field was dedicated to cricket. Having football played on the playing area would have a major impact on safety.

"We objected to this move by the football club and we are pleased the council declined the application for pitches. The outfield must be smooth, something we have got to work on, because with a ball hurtling at a player at around 100mph there is a risk of serious injury if a ball hits a rough area.

"We agreed with the council this field should be dedicated to cricket after, all it is the only cricket facility in Biggleswade.

"There are plenty of places youth football teams can go."

United are inviting councillors to the club to explain why they have blown the whistle on the plans and put the mini teams at risk from closure.

In a letter to Biggleswade mayor Cllr Wendy Smith, United secretary Tracey James says: "I would like to invite members of your council to attend a meeting with representatives of our youth team, parents and players to explain your decision.

"They will no doubt welcome the opportunity to hear first hand the reasons for denying the present young children and future Biggleswade children the opportunity to participate in sport, and specifically football, locally.

"You may not be aware that many of the town's children have been forced to play football outside of Biggleswade, for example in Shefford, Sandy, Potton and Caldecote because of the lack of facilities within our town and the availability of excellent facilities in other towns.

"You may or may not be aware the Bedfordshire FA has reported that Biggleswade has the lowest level of participation in youth football in Bedfordshire and one of the lowest in the whole of England.

The letter adds: "I and my chairman and the rest of the club's youth committee are extremely disappointed at the town council's decision.

"We were led to believe we had a verbal agreement with the cricket club that they had no objection to this piece of playing field being used for junior football.

"On this basis we provided the relevant leagues with assurances we had sufficient playing areas to introduce two new sides within our club.

"Given your decision we may now have to fold the two junior sides, leaving more than 30 young footballers without the sporting opportunities and social interaction.

"I would like to have been able to attend the council meeting at which the decision was made but was not aware my letter was to be discussed."

Cllr Smith said: "What has been done is within the town council's response to what is happening to Fairfield recreation ground.


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