New blow for Harpenden Colts youth football team
PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 August 2016
In the wake of refusal of planning permision for an artificial pitch they would share, Harpenden Colts have suffered another huge blow.
Just weeks before the start of the new football season, the club has learned that it will no longer be able to use the facility in Luton where its squads train midweek.
And it has led to a warning that the Colts might have to cut their squad numbers because they can no longer use Venue 360 which has been taken over by Luton Town FC.
The loss of the facility has left a major headache for the Colts which suffered a similar problem with another venue two years ago.
Colts facilities coordinator Chris Wightman said that 12 Colts squads currently relied on Venue 360 to train as did many other squads during the colder and wetter winter months when pitch conditions prevented training and matches from taking place on grass.
Over the past winter, the Colts had to cancel numerous matches because of waterlogged pitches.
Chris said: “To find so many training slots at a stage when venues are already booked up is going to be a big task. We’re going to have to look outside of the area and the slots available are unlikely to be child friendly.”
Last month, a St Albans planning committee turned down an application from Roundwood Park School in Harpenden to put down a 3G pitch on its site which would be used by the Colts outside of school hours.
It was rejected because of concerns about the hours it would be in use and the likely impact on nearby residents.
But the school has confirmed that it will submit a new planning application over the summer which would address the opening hours issue.
Colts chairman, Ian Holden, said that the loss of the club’s midweek training facility highlighted how precarious the facilities were for one of the largest youth organisations in Harpenden and why a 3G floodlit venue in Harpenden was so important.
He said: “I can no longer guarantee that we can run the same number of squads now the closest venue to Harpwenden is no longer available to us.
“At this time councillors have got to stop paying lip service to the needs of youngsters in Harpenden and start taking action.”
He added: “It’s no longer enough to pretend that pressenting medals to youngsters is fulfilling their obligations to the youth of the town.”