Pitched battle kicks off over archaeological dig
FOOTBALL teams in Cirencester are on the offensive after discovering that a local pitch is being dug up by archaeologists ahead of a major school move.
In preparation for Watermoor Primary School’s potential move to the Kingshill complex in September 2014, Gloucestershire County Council plans to investigate the site, which is owned by Cirencester Town Council.
But local football teams have hit out at the plans, which were unveiled just over a month ago, because it means one of three football pitches at the Kingshill sports complex will be out of action until the end of the season.
Mick Ricketts, The Beeches FC secretary, said this left the clubs in a situation where there might not be anywhere to play home games.
"I don’t think they’ve even thought about having to manage with just two pitches. All three pitches are not used every weekend, but occasionally they are."
Gordon Varley of Stratton Youth FC said the plans had come with little warning and would cause major inconvenience.
"I don't see what the rush is. They could have waited a few more months. And of all the places to stick the school, why put it there on three established pitches which they've already spent a shedload on?"
A GCC spokesman said that the dig needed to go ahead now or the planning process for the new school building would be delayed, and added that the town council had been fully informed of this.
CTC’s chief executive officer Andrew Tubb said the council had informed the football clubs as soon as they could over the works.
He said temporary pitch provision would be arranged and added major improvements were in the pipeline for the complex including new junior pitches, three senior pitches with a running and walking trail and outdoor gym.
"I hope that this provides a level of reassurance that, in time, facilities will be enhanced at Kingshill albeit there will be a level of disruption in the short term," Mr Tubb added.
A final decision on whether Watermoor Primary school will be expanded and relocated to the Kingshill site will be decided by Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet on February 6.