The Neighbourhood Partnership Board (NPB) has decided not to go ahead with the proposal to refurbish the astroturf at a cost of £166,000.
The decision came at this afternoon’s quarterly meeting following a three week public consultation via Vale Mail’s newspaper and website. “We cannot ignore the public opinion poll,” Peter Richmond told the meeting.
96% of votes in a Vale Mail opinion poll were against the proposal, though a number of lengthier comments on the website were in favour of the development. By the time of the meeting, 1,964 votes had been cast, and over 100 comments had been left on the site.
The NPB decided that work at the stadium to repair the stairlift and improve the toilet and sewage facilities should go ahead.
Committee members disputed whether the money to refurbish the astroturf had ever been available in the first place. “It was a survey to ask residents whether they would like the astroturf to be developed if we had the money,” Neighbourhood Manager Ruth Miller told the meeting.
“We haven’t identified the money to improve the astroturf – it would have to be found as part of the overall business plan for the whole area and can be reconsidered at a later stage as part of an overall proposal.”
Board member Pam Crocker told the meeting that if the astroturf were to be refurbished, it would need security measures, otherwise it would ‘be torn to shreds.’
In a written report presented to the meeting, Mike Sharpe said: “The whole culture of how things are managed must change…. If not, then the monies invested in the area will be a waste to the people of Castle Vale.”
He listed seven separate dates between February and August this year when he had observed Farnborough Road pitches being used without being paid for. On one occasion, when he spoke to the players, the response was: “If you fancy a game, just turn up, nobody says anything.”
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