Club pitched into despair
A group of young footballers have nowhere to train during the week because councillors in Balderton have stopped their club using its playing fields in the evenings.
Balderton Athletic Football Club has five youth teams with around 70 players aged seven to 13.
They used the Coronation Street playing field, along with one of the clubs’ adult teams, twice a week in the evenings for a month-long trial period.
The club chairman, Mr Clive Bainbridge, said they had paid £5,000 for a set of portable floodlights they now had no use for.
He said they were bought in the summer on the understanding that Balderton Town Council would let the club use the playing field on winter evenings.
The club even paid for alterations to the lock-up facility so the lights could be charged between training sessions.
It was then told the playing field would be available for a trial period only and they were restricted to certain parts of the field.
Mr Bainbridge said: “We have got to find another place for the winter but everywhere else is booked up.
“We have nowhere for the children to train, plus we have got these floodlights. It has put us in a right predicament.”
He said the playing fields at the High School and the Magnus School, both in Newark, were fully booked and the turf pitch at The Grove Leisure Centre, Balderton, was in a poor state.
The club’s first team manager, Mr Garry Taylor, was concerned that youngsters might leave and join other clubs.
The decision not to allow the training to continue was confirmed by the full town council.
The clerk, Mrs Cheryl Davison-Lyth, said the gate to the playing field had to be locked at night by groundstaff and training sessions were not finishing until 8pm or 9pm, despite an agreed end time of 7.30pm.
Mrs Davison-Lyth said groundstaff were not happy about going out late at night and she said the ground was getting too muddy.
A request from Grove Rangers to use the playing fields in the evening was also turned down.
Mr Bainbridge said: “They have not discussed it with us at all. We could have addressed any concerns they have.
“This is a bit of a slap in the face.”
The club pays almost £1,000 a year to hire the playing field.