Mixed views have been voiced after a Flintshire football club’s plans to create a new 100-seater spectator stand were thrown out.
Representatives from Hawarden Rangers submitted proposals for a covered sitting area at their ground at Gladstone playing fields in May.
It came after they were informed by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) that their facilities would need to undergo improvements to remain in the third tier of the Welsh football pyramid next season.
However, the application has now been refused by Flintshire Council after officials said it would cause harm to an area of green barrier land.
The scheme has split opinions in the village with some neighbours claiming it could lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour and parking issues.
Despite this, the independent county councillor for nearby Aston said she was disappointed by the rejection of the plans.
Cllr Helen Brown, who is part of the Flintshire Independents group, said: “It was very clear from the outcome of the public consultation that there was overwhelming support to enhance the sporting facility with a seated stand.
“Gladstone is home to many activities and the work that Hawarden Rangers put into looking after the young people of our community is to be commended.
“I am disappointed in this decision as there has most recently been an outdoor gym added to the fields and some years ago a skateboard park was installed.
“It’s important to encourage people to take part in sport and it’s not unreasonable for successful clubs and organisations to enhance the facilities they provide.”
She added she expected the outcome to be appealed by the football club.
The decision was made despite proposals to widen the pitch for its senior team being approved in June as part of the bid to meet ground regulations.
Founded in 1974, the club, whose former players include the likes of Michael Owen and Ian Rush, is currently made up of 250 juniors and 70 senior members.
Among those who opposed the new stand was local Conservative councillor Clive Carver.
He said he welcomed the council’s determination as he claimed the scheme would not benefit the wider village.
He said: “I am pleased that this application for a 100-seat stand has been refused.
“The proposed 100-seat stand’s only purpose was to serve a particular football team and not the public in general.
“The Herbert Gladstone Recreation Ground is within a park setting.
“Many residents walk, run, jog or simply stroll around the grassed area. It is for all forms of recreation, not just football.”
The football club could not be contacted for comment at the time of writing.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).
Feature Image Credit: Footballgroundmap