Carshalton Athletic told to prove it can work with neighbours over plastic pitch plans (From This Is Local London)
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Carshalton Athletic told to prove it can work with neighbours over plastic pitch plans
A football club has been challenged to prove it can work with the community if it wants to install a controversial 'plastic pitch'.
Carshalton Athletic Football Club wants to replace the playing surface at the War Memorial Sports Ground in Colston Avenue with a synthetic '3G' pitch.
The club applied to Sutton Council to relax the conditions of its lease on the pitch to meet the conditions the Football Foundation would require to give a grant for the work.
But the council, after hearing from neighbours who are concerned the move will lead to the club playing more and more matches, said it was concerned about the club's relationship with those living nearby.
The club was then asked it to prove it was willing to speak to neighbours before making any decision about the lease at a council strategy and resources meeting last night.
Councillors looked set to agree the variation until they heard from Jane Sayer, one of the club's neighbours.
Ms Sayer said: "Carshalton Athletic Football Club purports to be a good neighbour but you have to consider that we've seen an increase in teams from four to 40 in recent years and we've lived with this.
"But now the club is here again asking you to rip up the agreement protecting the residents and replace it with one that suits the club.
"We've tried to live in harmony with the club but we're afraid this is a step too far. Don't let residents down and stop the owner making a fast buck at the residents' expense."
Having heard Mrs Sayer's appeal, the council decided to defer any decision on the lease for a month in order for a mediation group to be set up between the club and its neighbours.
Council leader Councillor Ruth Dombey said: "There's a lack of communication and the inability of the club to communicate with its neighbours.
"There should be a proper group set up to mediate between residents and the club. There must be a compromise that will allow them to maintain a standard of living and for the club to grow."
No club representative spoke at Monday's meeting. The plans for the synthetic pitch have attracted criticism from some fans who say it goes against the principles of the sport.
Any decision on the matter has been postponed until next month, at which point it is hoped a mediation group will have been formed.
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