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Children's football team told to pay for pitch
6:00am Monday 9th September 2013 in News
A CHILDREN’S football team promised the use of a football pitch after the closure of Longbarn Primary School has been told it must now pay for the privilege.
Grange FC used the pitch at the school on Fallowfield Grove when the community school was still open.
During its controversial closure Town Hall bosses said the pitch would stay in community use.
The site reopened as Horizons school for children with behaviour problems.
Grange FC has always used the pitch free of charge, but will now have to pay a hire fee, with a figure as yet undecided.
Warrington Borough Council says it is ‘common practice’ for clubs to pay to use school grounds.
Gemma Robinson, aged 28, of Pasture Lane, runs the junior team.
She said: “When the school changed from Longbarn Primary School to Horizons we were told we would still be able to use it.
“We were there before Horizons.
“I’m really frustrated.
“The school is not giving back to the community.
“They are taking away the only thing around here for the kids.”
A council spokesman said: “It is common practice for clubs who use schools grounds or council pitches to be charged for that use.
“For historical reasons the club have not been charged but we are looking to bring them in line with the other clubs.”
Grnage Fc may even be faced with closure amid a further dispute over the pitch.
FA rules means the team have to play nine-a-side this season with the first game on Saturday.
The pitch at Horizons is not big enough and needs to be extended by several feet with Grange FC willing to pay the bill of around £220.
However, the council says it cannot be developed due to ‘technical reasons’ but that an ‘alternative location’ is being investigated.
It is believed facilities at Christ Church Primary School, Station Road, Padgate, are being considered.
A resolution looks unlikely before Grange FC’s first game on Saturday.
“That means we will be docked three points and if this isn’t sorted out the team will fold,” added Ms Robinson.
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