Shrewsbury cricket club move plan has members in a spin

Reporter:

Tom Morton

MEMBERS of Shrewsbury Cricket Club are stepping up their fight against plans to move to a new site out of town.

Bosses are considering moving the club from its London Road ground to Horton Lodge, west of the A5 bypass.

Members who backed a motion to stay at the ground in 2007 have now met to declare their opposition.

Brian Edwards, of Kingscote Close, Shrewsbury, has been a club member for 30 years and said moving it away from its home would kill community support.

He told Shrewsbury Living: “Many of us believe Shrewsbury Cricket Club belongs in Shrewsbury – not at Horton Lodge.

“What makes the club’s committee think they can make a financial success of a new club outside the town when they have not succeeded where they are?

“Clearly they think throwing money at it will be the right thing. But the money can only come from its one single asset – the London Road ground.

“This ground has won many accolades and prizes for its quality playing surfaces which is a great tribute to the dedicated groundsmen Bill Davies and Les Nicholls.

“The London Road pitches are the envy of visiting clubs who without fail repeatedly comment on the excellent playing surfaces.”

Consultation questionnaires were sent out in May.

Mr Edwards said the findings would be discussed at a committee meeting today (Thursday) but felt it should go to a vote at a full general meeting.

He said the current facility has 10,000 fans within a 15 minute walk of the ground but the new site only has 200.

He added: “The spectators who are most attracted to games at London Road are drawn substantially from the neighbourhood.

“What surprises us is how the club committee thinks it can increase support miles away.

“The new site at Horton Lodge would be over four miles from the railway station with no frequent bus service.

“It is quicker and easier to get from Wellington Cricket Club to London Road than to Horton Lodge.”

A letter attached to consultation questionnaires read: “The decision that needs to be reached is whether to attempt relocation of the club to a new site with improved and appropriate facilities, redevelop the site to meet the cricketing needs of the membership or stay at London Road and continue to rely on hiring additional facilities at Shrewsbury College, Condover Cricket Club, Belivedere School and Shrewsbury School.”

Redevelopment at London Road had been rejected on the grounds the size of the site would make it unworkable.

Completed questionnaires will be considered by the club committee following the consultation.

The club’s 1st XI team plays in the Birmingham and District Premier League premier division and the 2nd XI the first division.

Chairman Andy Barnard said current facilities were not ideal for their four teams.

He said: “The proposals are out there and we let everyone see those proposals, but we can’t say when the process will come to fruition. There’s all sorts of things that have to be right – the economy of the country, land prices and so on.

“We’re just considering the possibility of relocation in the future, but if we do move, it’s cricket that drove us there.”

See full story in the Leader

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