Saltburn Athletic Football Club’s under-10s are on the lookout for a new home after Redcar and Cleveland Council agreed to sell playing fields at the old Saltburn School, on the corner of Marske Mill Lane, to developers.
Coach Cathal Carey said the decision left players devastated and could lead to the club’s closure. He said: “Our pitch is being sold for housing and we’re being evicted.
We have used this field for more than five years for our under-eights and under-10s teams to play their matches. It’s the only seven-a-side pitch in town.
This decision will have a terrible impact on the club as without a seven-a-side pitch we can’t start new teams. This could mean the end of our club which is run entirely by volunteers for the benefit of children in the town.”
Mr Carey said the club was given three weeks’ notice that the council was selling the field in September. It sought to take ownership of the site via a community asset transfer fund but was unsuccessful.
Mr Carey added: “Then we were notified that the land is to be developed for housing. This is despite the council’s own playing field strategy recommending the field be used as a playing field.”
The playing fields had been part of Saltburn Junior School, which closed three years ago. The sale of school playing fields has been a major national issue, with the Government facing calls to protect playing areas.
Redcar and Cleveland Council confirmed it has accepted a bid but refused to say how much it is for.
Norman Pickthall, Cabinet member for corporate resources, said: “We’ve allowed the club temporary use of the land free while we address drainage issues at pitches rented from Saltburn Learning Campus. This has been extended pending disposal of the site.
Bids to secure the site were discussed at Cabinet in January. Discussions with the proposed purchaser are at an early stage and notice will need to be served on the club in due course.”
The club has started a petition to save the site and it is available at http://www.petition.co.uk/save-our-pitch-at-the-old-saltburn-junior-school/