Council apologises and agrees to pay for damage caused to club's football pitch
PUBLISHED: 16:51 14 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:56 15 January 2019
A council has been forced to apologise and pay for damage caused to a Norfolk football team's pitch on New Year's Day.
Cars churned up Cromer Town FC’s grass pitch after they were wrongly allowed to park there during the fireworks display on January 1.
The damage resulted in the club having to cancel its home game against Caister FC Reserves on Saturday (January 12).
North Norfolk District Council said it had now written to the club to apologise and will pay £650 to repair the pitch.
A council spokesman said parking was offered to visitors on the hard standing at Cabbell Park, as well as at other locations around the town.
But due to the high numbers of people trying to park, the decision was made to open a gate to the pitch to provide additional parking.
In a statement, the spokesman said: “Our best intentions were to improve the visitor experience.
“We were sad to see that a mess had been made on the grass football pitch.”
Club chairwoman Jenna Bedwell said the club rents the ground at Mill Road from the district council.
Speaking about the damage, she said: “It [the pitch] was bad. It looked like a car had got stuck and a tractor had tried to pull it out.
“When I went down there my first thought was ‘oh god look at it’, I thought we would be out for most of the season.”
Photographs of Cabbell Park show deep, muddy tyre marks stretching out from the side lines towards the pitch’s half-way line.
She said while the club knew its ground was included in parking plans for the firework display, it was unaware the pitch would be used.
The district council said it carried out an inspection of the ground and had come up with a programme of works to help with the pitch’s repair.
It will aerate the ground to assist with grass regrowth, supply one tonne of sand and topsoil, and provide 20kg of grass seeds.
A council spokesman said this will enable the pitch to be used again by Saturday, January 26.
Miss Bedwell said the club’s admissions hut was also vandalised, with the words “weed is life” scrawled on its wall.
Cromer Town plays in Division Two of the Hadley & Ottaway Anglian Combination league.
Its next game is against Hingham Athletic on January 26.