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Space bought for rugby picthes is too small
2:34pm Thursday 7th March 2013 in News
A MAJOR investment in sport in Alresford could be in jeopardy after space purchased for rugby pitches was found to be too small.
Alresford Rugby Club must start building two pitches at Arlebury Park by June otherwise it will lose grants from Sport England and the Rugby Football Union towards the £167,000 scheme.
But the club has said that the 3.8 acres set aside are too small and it wants to use land earmarked for general public use.
Some town councillors are unhappy the club has told it the land that the council purchased for it last year is insufficient.
The town council must decide if it is to help the club with more land to make the playing area big enough. The council meets on Thursday March 14 to discuss the issue.
Town councillor Roy Gentry is angry that five years' work on land acquisition from landowner Rodney Morgan-Giles is now in peril.
Cllr Gentry said: “We purchased land enough for one pitch and a small training area. Now the club wants two full-sized international-size rugby pitches.
“The RFU has refused to communicate with the town council despite repeated requests from us for an outline plan.”
Mr Gentry said he was unsure if the town council would support the club and he personally doubted if it would be able to get the required planning permission in time to start before the June deadline.
He said: “My view is we presented to the town council, the city council and the residents that we were going to purchase 3.8 acres and 3.18 for general amenity. I don't think we can go back on that position and cannot go back without another public meeting. I think the rugby club have let down their members, let down the town and let down the town council.”
Club president Hugh Ogus said: “I dispute Mr Gentry's version of events. He miscalculated the amount of land needed. We always wanted two rugby pitches. He was the only member of the recreation committee to vote against taking this to the full town council.”
Chris Day, rugby club chairman, said: “I am very disappointed and concerned Mr Gentry has made these comments and refute the suggestion. The club has been working extremely hard, with the town council, towards the development of two rugby pitches within Alresford town.”
The RFU was asked for comment but had not responded.