Posted: Tue 16th May 2023

Security fence for vandalism plagued Flintshire football club given go ahead but not everyone is happy

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, May 16th, 2023

A Flintshire football club plagued by vandalism has been granted permission to erect a security fence around its football pitch, but not everyone is pleased.

Saltney Town FC’s Sandy Lane ground has been frequently targeted by vandalism over recent years, costing the club thousands in repair bills. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The latest attack on the club’s ground occurred on May 2 when the team dugouts and seats in the stand were damaged.

Supported by the landowner, Flintshire County Council, the club proposed plans to construct a 120m long, 2.4m high security fence at the ground, which also serves as a playing field for St David’s High School.

This field is also used by the wider community for exercise and dog walking.

During the planning application process, a consultation was carried out where several local residents expressed their opposition to the proposed plans.

One highlighted that the field serves as a crucial green space for recreational activities and dog walking, providing a lifeline for those dealing with mental health issues.

However, most of the grassed area is covered by a council Public Space Protection Order which prohibits dogs from entering marked sports pitches.

Another believes that the fencing plan would increase social isolation and significantly impact the community’s wellbeing.

One resident questioned the transparency of the decision-making process, raising concerns over potential conflicts of interest as Saltney Town Councillor Jason Smallcross is also the Chair of the football club.

Documents submitted as part of the application note Cllr Smallcross declared an interesting meaning he has excluded from any planning decision-making process which ultimately sits with Flintshire County Council.

Despite these concerns, a planning officer has determined that the installation of the security gate and fence is appropriate and fit for purpose.

The approved proposal includes the creation of access gates for pedestrians and vehicles, with the security measures extending to cover the entire field area.

In a report, Barbara Kinnear said: “The site is not a sensitive designated area such as a conservation area.”

“The fence, gate, and access proposed aim to enclose the playing field used by the school, wider community, and football club.”

“The playing field, football stand, and associated development are currently subject to ongoing vandalism and trespass. The erection of the fence and gates will secure the site.”

Ms Kinnear added: “During the consultation process on this application, concerns were raised by local residents who use the field for dog walking. These concerns have been noted, and I have been advised that Saltney Football Club intends to ensure that access to the site will remain.”

“The planning application form confirms that the applicant, Saltney Football Club, has served the required notice as a Certificate B on the owner of the site, Flintshire County Council.”

“From this, it is evident that the land in question is private land and rights of access are within the jurisdiction of the landowner. There appear to be no automatic rights of access to the application site, and access has been granted on a goodwill basis to date.”

Ms Kinnear concluded: “The installation of the security gate and fence is considered appropriate and fit for purpose to secure the site from vandalism and trespass. A recommendation of conditional approval is made.”

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