‘Urgent need’ for Letchworth pavilion ignored by council

Alan Lowe, chairman of Hitchin Sunday League Football, says NHDC are delaying the building of a pavi

Alan Lowe, chairman of Hitchin Sunday League Football, says NHDC are delaying the building of a pavilion - Credit: Archant

The actions of a council are hampering the “urgent need” for improved football facilities in Letchworth GC, according to a Sunday league chairman.

Alan Lowe, chairman of Hitchin Sunday League Football, says NHDC are delaying the building of a pavi

Alan Lowe, chairman of Hitchin Sunday League Football, says NHDC are delaying the building of a pavilion - Credit: Archant

Hitchin Sunday League Football has been in discussions with North Herts Distict Council (NHDC) and the Football Foundation to build a four changing room pavilion on Baldock Road in Letchworth GC.

Currently the two pitch site has no facilities after the old pavilion was demolished several years ago following an arson attack.

Alan Lowe, chairman of the league, said that originally NHDC were going to submit plans for a 50% grant to the Football Foundation and meet the remainder of the cost – including the £43,000 in VAT that would be incurred with the project.

He told the Comet that NHDC now wants the league to submit the bid – making it liable for the VAT bill.


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“Everything seemed to be going well then, out of the blue, they changed their minds and said we should make the application to the Football Foundation for the grant,” said Mr Lowe.

“We are still able to get the grant but would then incur the thousands of pounds of VAT which puts the project out of our ball park.

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“There is an urgent need for a pavilion here because football is a winter sport and requires adequate changing and shower facilities to maintain the participation of those who are keen and willing to play.”

Mr Lowe said that because the council is VAT registered it can offset the cost against income from VAT off other servicess it provides, something the league cannot do.

“It’s amazingly frustrating because this is a fantastic project that would massively improve this league’s facilities but I have just come to learn that this is something you have to accept when working with local authorities,” he added.

The Football Foundation declined to comment on the particular case but a spokesman said: “We provide grants to organisations, such as schools, clubs, councils and local sports associations that are seeking to develop new or refurbished community sports facilities.

“We look to invest in projects that increase participation and improve the quality of experience of players at the grassroots level.”

Vaughan Watson, head of leisure and environmental services for NHDC said: “We are looking at options that would allow the league to lease the site directly from the current landlord. This simplified arrangement would mean that any grant application to the Football Foundation would be made by the league as lease holder and not the council”.

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