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Meadows cash withdrawal

Posted on August 21 2011 at 12:45:43

Planned improvements to playing fields in Alvechurch, including the long-awaited drainage of The Meadows, are in jeopardy after Bromsgrove District Council withdrew its offer to pay for the work.

The district approached Alvechurch Parish Council last year with a plan to pay £70,000 to improve the football pitches and other facilities at Hopwood Community Centre and The Meadows, both of which are owned by the parish.

All appeared to be going well until the district asked the parish to enter into a contract which required it to repay thousands of pounds if certain conditions weren’t met.

Among these were the requirement that Alvechurch Lions football club be given priority over the pitches and that it achieve and maintain FA “Community Club” status.

Club representatives told the parish council’s July meeting that they couldn’t guarantee this status, especially if the Hopwood pitch was out of use for much of this season because of improvement work, meaning they would have to ask players to travel out of the area for matches.

During lengthy discussions the council heard the required repayment of more than £40,000 to the district if the football club failed to be a Community Club after two years was more than the parish’s entire cash reserves.

The council, feeling it had been left with little choice, agreed to let the Lions use Hopwood for this season, in the knowledge any improvement work would be delayed by this decision.

Parish chairman John Cypher wrote the following day to Bromsgrove head of leisure John Godwin explaining why the council had come to its decision and seeking further talks. Three days later, Mr Godwin replied to say the cash was now going elsewhere.

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