Row rumbles on over holes in safety nets at cricket club

A dispute between a cricket club, its neighbours and the council is rumbling on – with calls for a resolution to be found.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 5:55 pm

Marsden Cricket Club (MCC) was granted council cash worth more than £2,600 in 2019 to fix holes in its safety nets to protect nearby homes from wayward shots.

But almost two years later the money is yet to be formally handed over, prompting questions over what is causing the holdup.

“This keeps coming back and coming back and coming back,” said Mark Walsh, cabinet member for housing and transport at South Tyneside Council.

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“This seems to be an ongoing issue and I suggested, if it would help, whether it would be worthwhile having a meeting with [the club]”.

Cllr Walsh said residents felt MMC needed to show it has more concern for safety.

He was speaking at a meeting of South Tyneside Council’s East Shields and Whitburn Community Area Forum (CAF), the first time the panel has met in person, rather than by videolink, for more than a year.

According to CAF minutes from August 2019, the cricket club, in Horsley Hill Road, was allocated £2,658 from the committee's funds to buy safety nets ‘subject to the club accepting responsibility for ongoing maintenance’.

But bosses at the club have hit back following the meeting, insisting the facility, which provides coaching for children as young as eight and is run as a charity, is still working to find a long-term solution to maintaining the barriers beyond the one-off sum offered by the council.

Gary Goyal, who was club chairman in 2019, said: “The club was always in place before the residential development took place and as part of our commitment towards local neighbouring developments the club took loan from ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) to support setting up high fencing across the ground.

“Club is still paying for quarterly installments to the ECB against the loan, which was in excess of £10,000.

“Club’s finances have always been under extreme pressure and we have done our best to maintain the highest fencing that can be set up to protect the neighbourhood.”

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