We're off! Parking charges may force Wrexham village football club to move to Flintshire

Reporter:

Jonathan Grieve

Introducing parking charges at country parks could force a club at the heart of a Wrexham village community to move to Flintshire.

Llay United secretary Dave Adams said he had been instructed to investigate the possibility of moving the club, which is based in Alyn Waters Country Park, away from the village.

Mr Adams, who also sits on Llay Community Council, said the outcome of a scrutiny committee meeting where it was decided not to send proposals to charge for parking in country parks back to the executive board was the “worst case scenario”.

He said he had identified four possible locations – two in Wrexham and two in Flintshire – where the club could relocate.

Mr Adams said: “This would involve folding Llay United as we know it – which has been part of Llay for the past 32 years – and starting a new phoenix club away from the village.

“A number of possible venues were identified in Flintshire and Wrexham including unused pitches in Garden Village and the under used pitches in Bradley.

“We don’t think this whole situation has been gone about in the right way. We believe the consultation to come will just be about the traffic regulation orders and not whether the proposals are right or wrong.

“If it had gone back to the executive board, there would have been a need for a full consultation.

”We’re also really disappointed with Cllr David Bithell’s comments that the council didn’t know we were playing at Alyn Waters.

“We have constant contact with the Countryside Services staff there. There has been no consultation with us and we have had no meaningful contact from the council.

“If we have to move, it’s going to make it a lot harder for the children of Llay to get to matches and some might stop playing.”

Proposals to introduce parking charges at country parks would bring in £47,000 per year, according to council estimates.

The authority is now set to consult on plans to introduce a daily £1 charge for visitors to country parks, as well as a concessionary annual parking permit of £50.

Mr Adams added: “We find it hard to believe that the major effect of the introduction of parking charges in particular the Llay side has been properly considered, that dog walkers and park users will park on the side streets instead of paying to park.

“There are over 10 public entrances into the Llay side of Alyn Waters, all of which have street parking next to them.

“Dog walkers won’t care where they start their walk from, but the people living in these streets will become inconvenienced.”

Cllr Marc Jones, one of five members who voted to send the proposals back to executive board, said: “My general concern is that we’re proposing to spend £50,000 on new machines and other capital spending to raise this money with no guarantee that the income will come.

“Officers admitted it was difficult to predict human behaviour but we all know how sensitive people are to car parking charges.

“I suspect we’ll see more blue badge holders parking on double-yellow lines and country park visitors parking on side streets as a result.

“In two years’ time we could find ourselves abandoning the charges because they’re not achieving the revenue predicted.

“On the specifics of Llay youth football, I don’t see how charging parents to watch their kids play is either fair or enforceable on a Sunday morning.

”We should be doing all we can to encourage people and youngsters in particular to take part in exercise rather than making it more difficult.”

Cllr David A Bithell, lead member for environment and transport, said: “The decision of the executive board in January was called in and resolved at the employment, business and investment scrutiny committee meeting for statutory consultation.

“The land in Alyn Waters Country Park is public open space – and not a bookable football playing pitch.”

Email:

jonathan.grieve@nwn.co.uk

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