A Conservative Council in Staffordshire has effectively put the brakes on their local residents trying to get fit by saying they are too busy to open up sports pitches for local residents.
Tamworth Borough Council has blocked access to its new Astroturf pitch at nearby Tamworth Enterprise College leaving over 500 disappointed local people.
Leisure Leagues, who operate not-for-profit community leagues across the UK, had over 500 local people ready to play at their six aside league and contacted the Council on 23 occasions asking them if they could use their empty pitches on a Sunday.
Leisure Leagues spokesman Andy Thorley said: “There is an empty pitch and we have offered the Council money in advance to use it. You would have thought that prioritising getting people fit in the town, especially with the pandemic right now, would be of the utmost importance to them, quite apart from gaining valuable income to reduce their already large deficit”.
Over three quarters of the people who were due to play in the league were classified as either mildly obese or did no other form of physical activity in the week.
Mr Thorley continued: “It is completely crazy. We have contacted the Council dozens of times but they simply ignore us. You can’t visit the Council offices because they are all working remotely. It is about time they got back to work and started serving the people of Tamworth rather than having what appears to be an extended holiday”.
Over 500 Tamworth residents, along with a documentary film crew are scheduled to be at the College on Sunday ready to play.
Mr Thorley said: “It will be a huge symbol of the mentality of Tamworth Borough Council if there are hundreds of people wanting to get fit and play on an empty, publicly funded pitch, yet the Council simply close the gates and say you can’t come in”.
Tamworth Borough Council’s Assistant Director for the Environment, Sarah McGrandle has written to Leisure Leagues saying that Councillors have been effectively told not to talk about this subject.
Mr Thorley said: “The problem is when you get a Council leadership telling its own Councillors that they can’t comment or ask questions about an issue of vital importance to local residents, then you end up with the sort of situation that we have resulting in an empty pitch with nobody using it, paid for by the taxpayer, and desperately in need of use by local people wanting to get fit. It is time some Councillors started standing up and using their voice otherwise, quite frankly, what on earth is the point of them being there?”
Tamworth Borough Council and Conservative councillors were invited to comment but all have declined an interview.
Josh FletcherBack to Blog