When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Eviction of footballers defended by Blackburn with Darwen council
BLACKBURN with Darwen Council has defended its decision to evict young footballers from “partially-used” all-weather pitches.
Dr Craig Hammond, of Willis Road, Blackburn, has complained that, on Sunday afternoon, security guards were dispatched to the pitches on the road, because the youths had not paid for entry.
Dr Hammond said: “As a local resident, I regularly walk around the park area, and often find that the pitches are only occasionally, and partially, used.
“On the back of the recent storming success of Team GB at the Olympics, we need more of this kind of impromptu sporting collaboration, to nur-ture and promote further home-grown talent, and success.
“However, this uplifting scene was all brought to an abrupt, and unnecessary, end as security guards arrived to shut down the matches and lock up the premises.
“It seems that the use of the otherwise empty facilities had not been paid for.
“I spoke to some of the despondent youths after their eviction, and it seems that, at an extortionate price for one hour’s use, this is well beyond their pockets. So, as it stands, it seems the council prefers to have this community resource overpriced and empty.”
Dr Hammond has called for an alternative financial arrangement to allow the young people to use the facility more regularly.
Coun Damian Talbot, executive member for culture, leisure and young people, said the council was keen to encourage young people to play sport.
But there was a cost in maintaining the artificial pitches and associated changing facilities.
He said: “This Sunday these unauthorised players were asked to leave as the staff were closing up the facility at the end of the working day.
“Correct procedure was followed as the pitches are locked up at night at weekends for health and safety reasons as there are no staff there to supervise customers.”
The artificial pitches cost £32.45 for a pitch during the week, with a special discounted rate at the weekend of £22.75.
Comments are closed on this article.