Posted: Fri 19th May 2023

Saltney Town “overjoyed” at prospect of protecting football club from mindless vandalism

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, May 19th, 2023

The committee of a Flintshire football club expressed delight at the prospect of securing its future through significant investment, following the approval to erect a 3m high security fence around the club’s grounds.

Lock Stock Ardal League North side Saltney Town FC’s Sandy Lane home has been targeted by vandals over the last few years and the club has moved to protect its facilities.

The planning department at Flintshire Council, which owns the land the ground is on as part of St David’s High School, has granted permission for the security fence with double gates.

A planning officer’s report gave details about the proposal.

It said: “The application seeks consent for the creation of security fencing / gate and access to enclose the existing playing field, as the site is prone to ongoing vandalism and trespass of the existing playing field.

“The field is used by both in association with the school, wider community and football club. The fence and gate are proposed to be 3m high of a green mesh weld security approved design.

“Access is proposed by a 1.2m wide pedestrian, mobility friendly gate and double width 5m vehicle gates.”

The application was made by Saltney Ferry Cllr Jason Shallcross (Ind), the chairman of the football club, who declared an interest when submitting the proposals.

In a letter to the planning department submitted with the planning documents, he said: “After repeated vandalism to the stand and pitch side advertising hoardings over several years we (Saltney Town FC) were approached by the Welsh FA regarding financial support via an equipment grant.

“Through the local police involvement, the crime officer for Flintshire was invited down to make some recommendations on ways to improve the security of the area. One of her suggestions was to erect a security fence.

“I spoke to the headmaster at St David’s for their permission and the Education and Youth Works approval form was completed and approval given by the governing body.

“St David’s school will be given keys to the gates of the secured area and will have access to the playing areas.”

The planning officer’s report suggested some local residents who walk their dogs on the field did were not supportive of the application.

But the club intends to continue allowing access to the site.

The report added: “During the consultation process on this application, concerns have been raised by local residents who use the field for dog walking purposes, and whilst these are noted, I have been advised that Saltney Football Club intends to ensure that access to the site will remain.

“In any regard 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 land owner, to which there would appear to be no automatic rights of access to the application site and access appears to have been undertaken on a good will basis as a present.”

Speaking to Deeside, a Saltney Town FC spokesperson said:

“The committee is overjoyed at the prospect of protecting our beloved football club through this investment.”

“Yet, it saddens us to know that there are a few residents who oppose this necessary action.”

“Our aim has always been, and will continue to be, to unite the community through the power of football.”

“Everything we’ve done is rooted in the desire to serve and be at the heart of our town’s residents,” the spokesperson elaborated.”

On the subject of vandalism, the spokesperson shared, “For years, we’ve reported constant, senseless vandalism to the police.”

“Despite overwhelming public support and awareness, we’ve been unable to effectively deter criminals from infiltrating and wreaking havoc.”

Discussing the club’s growth and challenges, the spokesperson said, “We’ve invested considerable time and resources, raised in part through Saltney’s generous donations and fundraising events, to build our club. ”

“We now have over 100 children and adults playing regular football in the official Flintshire Leagues.”

“Yet, constant repairs due to unending vandalism hinder our aspirations to further grow the club.”

“The fence will allow us to focus our resources on development and new equipment, rather than damage repair.”

“Rest assured, the school and local community events will continue to have full access to the area.”

“The space outside the fence will remain open for everyone to use, although residents must comply with the Flintshire Council’s Dog Control Public Space Protection Order,” the spokesperson clarified.

The spokesperson concluded with an invitation, “We welcome all residents to get involved with our club, whether as a player, coach, or volunteer.”

“If you’re interested, please email us at [email protected].” Sheehan – Local Democracy Reporter

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