Wrexham football teams may lease pitches

Reporter:

Staff reporter

AN INCREASING number of the county’s football pitches could be leased to teams under a new agreement.

Wrexham Council has received requests from football clubs for a lease on council owned pitches.

Currently only two of its playing fields are leased to clubs.

The council’s environment and regeneration scrutiny committee voted for the authority to adopt a draft policy over the letting of the pitches.

Parks, countryside and rights of way officer Martin Howarth told a scrutiny committee meeting there had been several requests for pitch-leasing and a consultation period had been carried out with community councils and other bodies.

“There are obvious concerns on both sides, but it would be good to come a decision one way or the other so the clubs who have been in ‘limbo’ for quite a while will know where we stand,” he said.

Cllr Malcolm Edwards said he was concerned at youth teams having to continually look for pitches because they could not access a regular venue to play.

He said: “Teams are coming cap-in-hand and going all over the place.

“That’s very expensive and is all because they don’t have their own place.

“I hope these teams stay together. They are the young people of the future and the football teams of the future.”

In his written report to the committee, Mr Howarth said the main problem with a lease was that it provided exclusive use of the facility and could exclude community groups or other teams wishing to use it.

He said a licence agreement might be more flexible as it would not give exclusive use of the land.

Cllr Phil Wynn said the demand for football pitches in Wrexham exceeded supply and believed a solution lay in hiring school pitches.

He said: “We should look to bring school playing fields into community use.”

But Cllr Ted George said this could cause problems if teams wished to access changing facilities when the schools were closed at weekends.

It is anticipated any recommendations for a lease would be made to Wrexham Council’s executive board for its members to make the final decision.

See full story in the Leader

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