Following a recommendation from Sport & Play Committee on 1 March 2021 - To receive and consider the report of the Operations & Estates Advisor confirming how football teams can be accommodated due to the possible extension of the football season, whilst still accommodating Cricket teams and other users of the Council’s green open spaces, and the financial implications arising from this change in policy.
The Committee received and considered the report of the Operations & Estates Advisor concerning the extension of the football season and requests for training pitches throughout the summer.
This issue had been referred from the Sport & Play Committee at its meeting on 1 March 2021 (minute SP101) and there was consensus that a delicate balancing act would be required. The initial proposals on how this could be accommodated had been forwarded to the Oxfordshire FA who had welcomed them and passed the information onto the clubs. There was agreement that the proposals contained in the report offered the best compromise the Council could make to accommodate matches, training, cricket and pitch renovations.
Members noted these arrangements would only apply for the summer of 2020, in response to the pandemic and clubs should initially book the Witney ATP, as requested by the Oxfordshire F.A, before booking training on the Council’s pitches.
There was some concern on the potential charge for training, but members understood that maintaining and marking out pitches for the extension would result in a significant, unbudgeted charge to the Council. It was agreed that a nominal fee of £15 per pitch for training, which equated to approximately half the cost of a junior pitch hire would off-set some of these costs; more than one team would also be able to use a pitch at a time. If a club could not afford the training costs, they could submit a grant form to the Council for consideration but there was still the opportunity that clubs could use King George’s and Eton Close recreation areas free of charge.
1. That the report be noted; and,
2. That Witney Town Council charges a nominal fee of £15 per training session on marked pitches at Burwell, the Leys and West Witney Recreation Grounds; and,
3. That Witney Town Council writes to West Oxfordshire District Council asking how it can assist with these issues, in particular regarding subsidised use of the Witney ATP for football clubs; and,
4. That Witney Town Council writes to the Oxfordshire Football Association and individual football clubs explaining the situation with pitches this summer, particularly highlighting the offer of free as well as chargeable training spaces; and,
5. That these arrangements are for the summer of 2021 only, in response to the issues arising from the Covid-19 Pandemic.