Soccer club to keep changing rooms

NAILSEA United Football Club has been given permission to keep its changing rooms at the Grove Sports Centre for another five years.

Nailsea Town Council, as landlord, granted the request after North Somerset Council gave the club planning permission to keep the temporary changing rooms at the site until 2016.

However, the town council imposed a condition that the club comes up with a proposal for permanent changing rooms over the next three years and also joins a working party with representatives from the town council and residents to discuss the future and to sort out any issues arising with people living nearby.

Councillor Mary Ponsonby said: “I believe we should go along with what the planning authority has said but that we should work with the football club, taking into consideration their aspirations to move up the league, and find a site that’s appropriate within our town and to help them in any way we possibly can to achieve their goal.”

Nailsea FC installed three temporary changing units at The Grove Sports Centre five years ago so it could apply to compete in the Toolstation Western League and improve conditions for players and referees.

To compete in the higher league, the club also needs to build a number of new facilities including a clubhouse with six changing rooms, a floodlit first team pitch and a function room.

Their plans to develop the club at the Grove were dashed when planning permission for floodlights was turned down.

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As a result, bosses had hoped to build a new club at Gaulacre but last year Sports Solutions GB confirmed the �1.8million needed for the project is not currently feasible.

The club still has permission to play football at the Grove for another 60 years, but a number of residents are concerned about the use of bad language by players and the existence of a boundary fence around the Grove.

Spencer Lee, chairman of Nailsea United said: “We are delighted with the outcome. It gives us five years to use the dressing rooms, which is great. Without them life would be very tough for the players.

“A working party is being set up to look at the club’s future. It’s yet to be determined whether we look for a different site. We’ve looked before and found the cost prohibitive in today’s climate, but we are willing to look at any proposal which takes our club forward.”

Speaking about residents’ concerns, he added: “We will do everything humanly possible to control the bad language and minimise the impact on local residents.”

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