What now for Costessey Cricket Club?
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
A meeting will be held tonight to find a new home for a cricket ground closed by its town council.
The pitch at Longwater Lane, Costessey, was shut down by Costessey Town Council after it emerged it would cost around £10,000 to be maintained for the 2016 season or risk being a potential safety hazard.
The move caused upset in the local sports community and raised questions about the future of grassroots cricket.
Tonight, options for an alternative base for Costessey cricket club, founded in 1948, will be discussed.
Councillor Gary Blundell, who proposed that it would be more cost effective to get rid of the cricket square and use the land for other cheaper sports, said taxpayers needed value for money.
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'The council is not against cricket,' he said.
'In fact, the cricket club came to us and said it was dangerous to play there.
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'No one wants to get rid of cricket clubs.
'Looking at the Longwater area, it's not viable because of health and safety and cost. We have to show we are giving taxpayers the best value for money.'
He also said the safety of dog-walkers and families could be at risk if the cricket team continued to play at the ground because of the proximity to public space and a play area.
But Graham Taylor, secretary of the cricket club, which is part of Costessey Sports Club, said the team wanted to continue at Longwater Lane.
He said: 'We have a facility there already.
'It just needs proper maintenance carried out on it, which the club would like the opportunity to have done with the backing of the council, as opposed to just being cast aside.'
Cricketers paid £800 per team per season to hire the pitch for nine matches, but the pitch was only used by one team and the costs of maintaining the playing surface were greater than the sum paid.
The Saturday team, which has 24 players, was relegated from Norfolk Cricket League division two to division three this year. It played nine matches this summer, with the last one at Drayton.
The meeting will be held at the Costessey Centre on Longwater Lane at 6.30pm tonight.
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