6-0 ….Committee Votes For Council To Run Sports Pitches Instead Of A Local Club




The District Council’s Review Committee voted 6-0 tonight NOT to lease out the five new youth sports pitches by Rayleigh Leisure Centre to a local club. Instead the District Councill will manage them directly.

This is in line with what the Council’s Cabinet had decided earlier; the Review Committee could have overturned this, but decided not to.

The idea is that these pitches would be used for several boys games on Sundays, but probably not at other times.

Rayleigh councillor Keith Gibbs proposed keeping with Council control – his main concern seemed to be that girls should be allowed to play , and he wanted five clubs to be playing their home games there. He was seconded by Terry Livings , also from Rayleigh, who wanted to see fairness. Councillors Steptoe (Barling), Mrs Lucas-Gill (Rochford), Maddocks (Hockley) and Carole Weston (Hockley) all voted with them.

Chris Black was the only councillor to speak against. He said that:

  • leasing it out to one of the ‘big three’ local clubs would let them establish a home base, and we should move on and find a base for the other two clubs.
  • Having one club there would leave more pitches available for other clubs elsewhere.
  • He had been told by one parent that there was never enough parking at these venues; you had to wait until the parents of the players for the previous match had left before you could park yourself.
  • The parking situation could be difficult, and having five clubs playing one home match there would probably produce more cars than one club playing five games.
  • One of the clubs had proposed having two residents on their committee to discuss problems; the council couldn’t match that.
  • It was frustrating that some councillors were asking questions that could have been answered by representatives of the clubs in the public gallery – but they weren’t invited to speak.

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  • I was present at the meeting yesterday and as a resident of Temple Way and a member of Rayleigh Boys I would like to thank Chris Black who spoke out for all of the 3 clubs in suggesting that we all should have been able to present our cases.

    I know as Rayleigh Boys we had supplied detailed information that was in front of the councillors very eyes which, answered most if not all of their questions. The person answering the questions on the night was not accurate with quite a few of his answers. I feel that the councillors decision yesterday was not an informed one as they were clearly not aware of all the facts that the Chairman of Rayleigh Boys could have given them – he was present last night.

    I might add that we were the only club there.

  • Yet another mistake by the council! All I can say is that RDC will be thinking of its bank balance and not the people (the local residents) that will be inconvenienced by this decision.

    I quote “The idea is that these pitches would be used for several boys games on Sundays, but probably not at other times.” The opperative word there is “probably”. The word is far too ambiguous to place in this type of sentence, what is also being said here is that it will probably be used at other times. What does this result in? More noise and more inconvenience for the residents of Coppice Gate. The people who are already having to put up with large volumes of traffic to both ASDA and the Leisure Centre, parked lorries, buses trying to navigate a roundabout, noise caused by the ASDA tannoy system and now we will be having to put up with cars parked wherever they can find a spot, which will probably mean residents coming home will not be able to access their driveways (as is the case with my family when neighbours have visitors!!)

    What consideration is the counil giving to this problem? The parking at the leisure centre is already an issue, the extra parking that has been mentioned will ease that problem, BUT the football pitches will add further to this problem. What assurances will the council make to ensure that parking is not going to be a problem, and what will they do if it does become a problem?

    I do feel I already know the answer to those questions, and frankly they are not answers I am happy with. Would be interested to hear the councils comments on this.

  • Corey, I used the word ‘probably’ because things are still too vague at the moment. Hours of use will need to be looked at when the council applies to itself for planning permission. (and yes, the council will need to get planning permision, residents will be consulted and it will probably be decided in the devlopment control committee)

    I don’t think it’s a question of money, I think it’s more a question of councillors wanting to keep control, and not properly understanding the situation.

    I don’t normally let meetings like this get me down, but I felt really disappointed. In a meeting where there was no political whip, I think the wrong decision was made – wrong for residents and for football.

  • I don’t think the council has thought this one out properly. This is not something that you can donate a little time to. It is a big ask of anyone’s time. It would be far better, more beneficial to the youngsters and more efficient to let someone or a well run club to take control. If you let the pitches out on a daily, weekly or 90 minute basis who is going to ensure that the goal posts are taken down, the flags are put back into the changing rooms, the litter is picked up? How does the next club using the pitches and changing rooms get the keys to the changing rooms? Is the councillor in charge going to be at every game to ensure that all is in order. I could go on and on and on ………… Madness

  • A bad decision in my opinion. A team with over 300 children needs its own home. I can’t be truly objective because my son is one of those 300 but it seems common sense to me to make the site available to Rayleigh Boys, a club that has served the community for a very long time, includes girls as well as boys, and is looking to the future.

    superbia in proelia

  • To all contributors on this website On behalf of Rayleigh Boys thank you for your kind comments regarding the use of the leisure centre area by a designated team.
    As a person who has spent along with others 18 Months not only going to meetings but providing information to all concerned on how we felt it could be run ,as a community,council,leisure centre and Rayleigh Boys partnership it is sole destroying to see two meetings come up with the same decision and yet nobody was allowed to put their case forward.
    So much for democracy.
    I genuinly feel for the people who live in this area and have seen some of your problems first hand but this decision will let you down even further with an uncontrolled area with nobody taking ownership ask the people of grove road and victoria road how and where people park when sports events are on.the only way this can work is the ownership taken by some organisation.who will resolve issues like vandalism,motorbikes racing around and general meeting place for kids to gather.

    Please all be aware every councillor on Rochford representing Rayleigh was written to and asked to support our aims as by far the largest and only Rayleigh club I have never received one reply not even from my own representative MR LIVINGS. The review committee had all of the information and more yet chose not to read it for whatever reason ,the decision makers did not even know what ages the mini Soccer kids played from and to ,so in desperation they had to ask me !,who bear in mind was not alowed to put our case forward. Yet again Rayleigh is let down by our own elected representatives , the other councillor’s they all have youth football clubs with homes on their patches.(im all right Jack)

    Also it feels me with joy that I will be partly paying £7000 within my council tax on top of any revenue generated for cutting the grass and lineing out when with us it would have cost the taxpayers NOTHING yet they would have had controlled use of the area for Community fun days and other sports clubs that could be accommadated. We were also discussing a joint changing facility /theatre with the Mushroom Theature group to utalise the space better and work with an excellent local organisation who again are victims of their own sucess.

    On a positive note to the residents of Rawreth ,Rayleigh Boys will not be hireing pitches on this area and with the other two clubs being based out of Rayleigh you may find this area unused.
    We are representative of the whole of Rayleigh with players and parents from Rawreth lane so do not want to have our good name tarnished with all the potential problems envisaged

    although we can never say never as their is probably a plan already being hatched ,to close the parks we use and build retirement homes on them the minute these pitches are available.

    I would like to thank Chris Black and June Lumley firstly for the common sense of Mrs Lumley used or that she smelt a rat by calling the decision in and to Mr Black who attended the meeting representing his area and was the only person who spoke any sense and understood what was best for the area and what the public wanted. On behalf of the Children (for any review committee members reading this is 5 – 16 Years old ) and Parents/Guardians thank you both again for your support.

    Finally if their is any Councillors for Rayleigh or Rochford who genuinley care’s about the youth of Rayleigh and know of Land for football pitches I am available at any time to talk, so please contact me at http://WWW.rayleighboysyouthfc.org.uk

  • Martin, I do feel for these youngsters but it just goes to show how out of touch our councillors are both in common sense and what it takes to manage these facilities. They have only just been voted back in and they have made a massive mistake for the young people of this town already. I hate to think what they have got up their sleeves with the housing development, you are probably right, lets get rid of all the parks.

    If you had been given control of the pitches and facilities it would really have given the youngsters something to be proud of, now,how long should we give these pitches to survive? maybe the idea is that they don’t and the council sell off the land to ASDA, now there’s a thought! Or more housing. I have completely given up with the Conservatives getting anything right in Rayleigh. By the way Mr. Francois, do you agree with this option? (Martin, you could always try your local MP, you never know!)

  • You know what, I am of the opinion that this council does not care about its residents, it doesn’t care about their quality of life, and it certainly doesn’t care about doing what is best for them.

    Here we have a local team needing a home, so what does the council do? Nothing! – home grown talent and nothing being done to support them – and in the run up to the olympic games!

    I fully expect that the councils decision to keep control of this area will have a detrimental effect on the quality of life for those of us that are with shouting distance of this land, it will be vandilised, the grounds will not be properly kept, and ultimately will be an eyesore to look out on, thus effecting property value and potential saleability.

    As for the fact that the council has to put a planning application in, what an absolute waste of time and money – as if the council are going to refuse their own application regardless of what objections are put forward by the public – at the end of the day, they don’t listen to what we have to say currently, so why would they listen to us in a few months time???

  • To be fair, I believe that Cllr Humphries has worked hard and is in support of youth sport. From what I’m reading here, it seems that some councillors weren’t aware of the facts or the consequences of their decision.

    I don’t believe that Mr Francois will be taking time out to support a local football team’s search for a home, as he is very busy asking questions about referenda and European treaties (not constitutions, obviously,) and now having to deal with the fallout from the shadow Home Secretary’s resignation today, currently being marketed as a stand against civil liberties in an attempt to disguise the fact that he and Dave don’t see eye to eye.

  • Corey, it may seem extraordinary that a council has to apply to permission to itself, but it does. This gives an opportunity for councillors to impose conditions…..

    There was a case a few years ago when the council decided to sell off some small pockets of land to a housing association to put in a few flats in each site. It was council policy to sell off the land, and I think council policy to support each application, but one of them (in Hambro Close Rayleigh) was actually refused by the planning committee.

    Link is here:


  • There isn’t enough parking at Rayleigh Leisure Centre, users of the centre routinely park illegally in Priory Chase and Temple Way.

    What happened to the proposal for a public footpath and cycle path across this rough ground behind the centre linking Priory Chase to Rayleigh Town centre and railway station?
    This would be an environmentally friendly way to ease traffic congestion around Priory Chase and perhaps encourage youngsters to ride/walk instead of being driven everywhere in gas gusslers…

    I’m all for children having the facilities they need to exercise safely! Has any consideration being given to hockey or netball??

    One of the things that strikes me as been totally odd – and I know that many share this view – is the absence of a swimming pool at Rayleigh leisure centre! I am a regular visitor to the cafe and studio classes in the centre and the indoor bowling area appears to be woefully under used, I know that a great deal more revenue would be created if this was a swimming pool instead!!!

    I know of many (young and old) who would spend more time here if there were swimming and spa facilities.

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