Bassingbourn FC’s pavilion protest at parish council meeting
PUBLISHED: 13:21 28 February 2020
Supporters and members of Bassingbourn Football Club held a protest outside a meeting of the parish council this week – after the pavilion was locked, leaving them unable to fulfil fixtures.
The village football club rents the pavilion from Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth Parish Council. Chairman Tom Marriage has claimed the council had not maintained the site to an adequate standard and deemed it too dangerous for the club to use, and the parish council said it was closed due to a reported accident and that works needed to be carried out.
Bassingbourn FC's youth and adult teams haven't been able to play for the last three weeks, which Mr Marriage said "puts the club at risk if being fined and consequently some of the teams may have to fold."
He said that they had offered free local labour to help fix the facilities, but this wasn't taken up by the parish council before the meeting.
As councillors walked into the meeting at the Limes Community Rooms in Bassingbourn High Street on Tuesday evening, they were greeted by protesting children and adults holding homemade banners and asking why the pavilion can't be unlocked.
Mr Marriage said: "When the meeting began the protesters peacefully entered the room, with two children and a mother carrying a banner which read "let our kids play football.".
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"Despite the first 15 minutes being time allocated for the public to speak, the parish council did not wish to hear complaints about the pavilion closure. Bassingbourn FC's secretary, Linda Johnson, remarked 'we won't be leaving until the pavilion is discussed' and cheers erupted."
Mr Marriage said initially they were told the pavilion would be unlocked on March 13 - he said this was "too late for the football club, and the protesters made this clear to the council".
It was then said that the pavilion changing rooms would open on Saturday - something Mr Marriage has said is not suitable as a temporary solution as there is no female toilets and they need access to the other part of the pavilion to turn the water on.
He said: "After the protest, many people feel like the parish council are now aware of the anger in the village and they need the council to start acting, so the community can start functioning again. Saturday will be the day to see if the parish council sticks to their word."
A spokeswoman for Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth Parish Council told the Crow: "The parish council had to close the pavilion in order to complete some necessary health and safety works following a reported accident. Works to the showers and changing rooms were prioritised, and they were out of action for two weeks.
"They will re-open on February 29. Free labour has been accepted for remedial works."
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