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Being Labour, Cotterill on the Council, Leisure and culture

Full council review (7): Tories in football failure admission

12.20.10 | Comment?

We put this formal question to council last Wednesday:

What is the Council’s current assessment of the general state of the football pitches at Liverpool Road, Skelmersdale, in light of the fixtures postponed before the frozen weather of late November and early December?

The response we got spoke volumes about Tory maladministration:

The Council considers these pitches to be in an acceptable condition considering the extensive level of use they get. An average weekend can mean over 50 matches taking place, with up to 7 matches taking place on a single pitch.

In order to manage the facility effectively, to prevent safety issues for users, or extensive damage which may affect their long term viability, it is sometimes necessary to advise that games be cancelled. This is more likely to occur when wet weather prevails, as was the case during November. [Note, this is a draft response pending approval by the chair of the meeting, but I do not expect the substantive detail to change, although from memory the leader did also adlib a bit about the frozen weather, which we accept will  cause games to be called off.]

That is, the Tories are tacitly accepting that the pitches are overused.

Well, of course they are.  That’s the point.

As I set out back in June, the Council’s very own Open Space Strategy, which was delivered 15 months behind schedule, makes this clear:

There is a minor oversupply of adult football pitches at peak time (Sunday AM) equal to 0.5 football pitches;

 There is a significant shortfall of junior football pitches at peak time (Sunday AM) of 28.2 pitches;

Mini football usage is also a Sunday morning activity. There is currently an undersupply of 4.1 pitches.

So what’s the Tory response to its own strategy? 

Is it to think about how it might provide more pitches for children to play on?  At Chequer Lane, for example.

No, it’s simply to say that the existing pitches are too heavily used, so children can’t play on Sundays when it’s rained quite a lot in the week.

This is not the response of a council actually interested in meeting the needs and aspirations of young people in (football-mad) West Lancashire.  It’s the response of a Council so lacking in capacity and political energy that it can’t even remember – when put on the spot with a formal questions – what’s in its own strategy.

Pathetic.

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