Parish council cancels football fixtures in village amid row

The playing field in Little Paxton

The playing field in Little Paxton - Credit: Archant

Little Paxton Parish Council cancelled football fixtures earlier this month after an ongoing row with the Little Paxton Colts Football Club.

The disagreement between the council and Little Paxton Colts Football Club sparked a debate on Facebook, after which members of the club said they were shocked to find they had been banned from the pitches on October 20.

According to the parish council, the fixtures were cancelled because of a breach in the terms and conditions that allows the club to play on the field. The council says a set of goals were being stored incorrectly.

However, the football club has said that punishing the children was not the way to go about solving the issue and they may be forced to change premises if the issues continue.

Chris Neale, chairman the Little Paxton Colts, said: “I know we have always had a frosty relationship with the parish council but I think banning the children from playing is just unnecessary and a little bit petty.

“There has been ongoing issues between the club and the parish council for years now and it needs to be solved for the kids’ sake. My goal as chair is to get kids playing football and hopefully getting them into a hobby. I am sure that the council are within their rights, however I think we all need to look at the bigger picture here and who’s suffering the most, and it is the children.

“Where the parish council wants us to place the goals, it is dangerous as it’s on a slope and it’s really hard for volunteers to actually place the goals there. It is getting to the point that if we can’t sort it out then there may not be any football in Little Paxton, which would be a shame as it’s pretty much the heart of the community.

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“For me, it’s much more than just football, it’s about turning these people into well rounded men when they are older and allowing them to play football.”

Currently, 11 youth teams play and train on the Queen Elizabeth II playing field which is situated in tHigh Street, with more 150 children getting involved every week.

However, the parish council has said that the goal storage discussions have been ongoing and the cancellation of the fixtures was a last resort.

Jenny Gellatly, Little Paxton parish clerk, said: “On October 9, the parish council contacted the colts as the goals had not be stored in the manner agreed. An assurance was given by the colts that the goals would be moved. However, on October 16, a week later this had not been actioned. The parish council made the difficult decision to notify the colts that on October 16, four days before the matches, that the weekend fixtures would be cancelled.

“The parish council is very supportive of the local clubs and users of the playing field and as part of its responsibility to the community means that regulations must be in place to protect the well being of all users of the field, council employees and contractors. Cancelling fixtures by the parish council is not taken lightly. The council will continue to engage with the colts representative to agree a way ahead.”