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Harold Hill football pitches written off due to lack of use

PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 February 2019

Councillors and residents are concerned that the unused football pitches in Harold Hill are a waste of council money. Left to right Dennis Cook, Cllr Denis O'Flynn, Cllr Paul McGeary, Cllr Keith Darvill, Dave Ainsworth and Denis Breading.

Councillors and residents are concerned that the unused football pitches in Harold Hill are a waste of council money. Left to right Dennis Cook, Cllr Denis O'Flynn, Cllr Paul McGeary, Cllr Keith Darvill, Dave Ainsworth and Denis Breading.

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Havering Council has said two football pitches in Harold Hill that residents claim cost more than £100,000 to create, will longer going be used.

Councillors and residents are concerned that the unused football pitches in Harold Hill are a waste of council money. Left to right Denis Cook, Cllr Denis O'Flynn, Cllr Paul McGeary, Cllr Keith Darvill, Dave Ainsworth and Denis Breading.Councillors and residents are concerned that the unused football pitches in Harold Hill are a waste of council money. Left to right Denis Cook, Cllr Denis O'Flynn, Cllr Paul McGeary, Cllr Keith Darvill, Dave Ainsworth and Denis Breading.

The pitches close to Drapers Academy in Settle Road were originally built after the Albemarle Youth Club in Gooshays Drive was demolished.

The council said they haven’t been used in more than two years, it would cost around £3,000 to re-mark the pitches, and that it is “not viable to bring them back into use”.

Other problems include drainage issues and wildlife grazing.

Residents, including a former referee and former councillors, said they were worried the pitches wouldn’t be used again because of a lack of changing facilities, and not enough car parking spaces.

David Ainsworth from Havering Sports Council told the Recorder: “Before these pitches were installed, we warned the council they would be proverbial white 
elephants if no changing facilities and ample car parking could be provided on site.

“Our warnings were ignored, so I’m not surprised teams aren’t playing at this location.”

Denis Breading, 69, a former Labour councillor, said: “It was a waste of money, my thoughts are the same now as they were back then.

“More money needed to be spent on the pitches when they were first built, and if they had done I am certain they would have still been used now.”

Councillor Viddy Persaud, cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “We have had no bookings or enquiries to use these particular pitches in the last two years.

“The council helped the last team to play there find another site.

“Problems such as drainage issues and wildlife grazing, along with the lack of interest and continued non-use of the pitches, means it is not viable to bring them back into use.

“The council is keen to see residents living happy and healthy lives and has invested £1.5m in the refurbishment of the Central Park Leisure Centre, Harold Hill.

“This is in addition to the Sapphire Ice and Leisure, Romford, which has just celebrated its first anniversary and a new leisure centre and swimming pool due to open in Hornchurch in 2020.”

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