Fringe Box



Agreement Reached Over Junior Football Club’s Use Of Onslow Recreation Ground

Published on: 18 May, 2016
Updated on: 18 May, 2016

A row over charging a junior football club, with some members as young as eight, to train on a village recreation ground appears to have been resolved.

Onslow FC have agreed to pay Guildford Borough Council an annual fee that will allow them to use Onslow Village Recreation Ground as much as they like, throughout the year, for organised training.

Over the last two weeks there has been an outburst of complaints from local people. A flurry of emails and social media messages were fired off after a club training session on the rec on Saturday, April 30, was interrupted by a staff member of the council’s parks and leisure team who informed the trainer that the club could not use the ground unless it paid a hire fee.

Onslow Village recreation Ground.

Onslow Village Recreation Ground.

Following a meeting arranged by Onslow’s ward councillors it is understood that Onslow FC will now purchase an annual licence, believed to be in the region of several hundred pounds, and will be able to book as many training periods as its wishes at no extra cost.

Shortly after April 30, The Guildford Dragon NEWS asked the council for a comment on the matter. It stated: “Teams, clubs and individuals can book organised fixtures, matches or training for cricket, football or rugby on our pitches at the relevant fee level.

“The booking system, which has been operating for over 25 years, prevents sessions clashing and allows us to maintain the pitches. The fees contribute to the cost of providing, managing and maintaining the pitches.

“Our rangers manage the bookings and visit the pitches as part of their regular patrols. If organised sessions are held without booking, our rangers generally advise them about the booking system and ask that a booking is made in future.

“Recently we had asked the club [Onslow FC], which was holding a small group session, to book the pitch in future. The session was allowed to continue.

“Last Saturday we again asked the organiser, who was holding a large group session, to book. The ranger did not stop this session. The pitch is not currently available for organised use as all pitches in the borough are in a period of renovation and recovery for next season.

“We have always been in close contact with Onslow FC and have worked together to provide junior football on the site this year. We will be reviewing the club’s needs and requirements this summer for the 2016-17 season.”

Onslow Rec 1Some of the comments being raised at the time of the incident on April 30, either by local residents or those whose children are involved with the football session on the rec included: “[A charge is being proposed] on the basis that the ground costs money to maintain, this beggars belief when the government have tried for years to encourage youth sport, and when our council tax is due to rise 4 per cent next year.”

And from a senior resident: “In my days in the Forties we were forced to play football in the street! I would not wish that on any one these days. We could not even afford a football.

“We would stuff an old football leather case with old newspapers, or even used a discarded tennis ball. Fortunately we have moved on now, I would not wish those days on anyone, but to discourage exercise to young children these days is not acceptable.”

The issue was also reported to Guildford’s MP Anne Milton who is known to be an advocate of encouraging physical exercise. She asked to be kept informed of events.


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