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Pitch battles continue in Lowestoft

PUBLISHED: 11:51 25 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:13 06 July 2010

FRUSTRATED football clubs, fed up with council-run facilities in Lowestoft, have called for action over what they describe as primitive conditions that they're faced with each weekend.

FRUSTRATED football clubs, fed up with council-run facilities in Lowestoft, have called for action over what they describe as primitive conditions that they're faced with each weekend.

A debate between league officials and teams in the Notley's Lowestoft and District Saturday League and Lowestoft Sunday League and Waveney District Council concerning the state of two of the main council run grounds has been rumbling on since July.

Clubs called for better value for money after the council increased their fees by 10pc for the season. The council expressed its intention to carry out minor maintenance, security and improvements to the changing facilities at Normanston Park and Dip Farm and that they had “already started.”

But approaching the first month of the new season tomorrow, users this week claimed that nothing had been done in the past three weeks - apart from the council issuing invoices to the clubs for the £357.50 they will have to pay this season to play each Saturday and Sunday, which is a rise from last year's figure of £325.

Marquis of Lorne manager Ron Bonnor claimed: “Nothing has been done. We still have to remove dogs mess, we still have health hazard toilets and have to change in dingy, dilapidated changing rooms. We still have to take all our gear and place it as primitives on the sideline. We still have to pick up other people's rubbish and we play on pitches that are the worst officials have ever seen.”

Blundeston Magpies manager Ronnie Socratous added: “Games have been delayed because of holes in the pitches and eight teams have to get changed in four changing rooms at Dip Farm - with some forced to change outside. We are charged around £30 for each home game and this is totally unacceptable.”

David Gallagher, head of partnership management and procurement, at the council said they had met representatives of the Saturday League prior to the start of the season and said that the council and Waveney Norse were looking at both short and long term measures for improving facilities.

“As the pitches are on a public park we will always encounter additional wear and tear and owners who have failed to clean up after their pets. This year, pre-season preparations have also been hampered by the long periods of dry weather and the seeded areas have not taken as well as we would have expected.

“We have already made repairs where vandalism has taken place and minor redecoration work has started at Normanston Park.

“There is no short-term solution to issues such as the size of the changing rooms and we have previously explained that we are looking at potential funding opportunities with Suffolk FA for a refurbishment programme and this is likely to take place next year.”

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