A Tunbridge Wells football club has criticised the Borough Council for putting youngsters at risk, alleging the club house is ‘not fit for purpose’.
Tunbridge Wells Foresters FC, which is based in Bayham Road, has 49 teams and leases the ground from the council. The club took to social media last week to talk about the ongoing issues regarding mould on the clubhouse ceiling and the club’s broken toilets.
A post from the Tunbridge Wells Foresters FC Twitter account (February 4) said:
“Whilst @TWellsCouncil continually drag their heels issuing us a lease our club house is covered in mould. Dangerous for kids with respiratory problems, infections, allergies or asthma affecting the immune system.
“Not fit for purpose.”
The club has also commented on how much it costs to hire the pitch from the Council and how they are still waiting for a new lease from 2021.
“We also get charged £85 to hire this – yep eight-five pounds and @TWellsCouncil still looking at the ‘lease’ two years later.”
“We met @TWellsCouncil in September 2022 (one of five meetings over four years) and last met them with @FootballFoundtn in November 2022 who made excellent suggestions that would be benefit not just the club & but the wider community. Still waiting to view the draft lease from Feb 2021,” they added.
The football club went on to say: “Just been informed by @TWellsCouncil parks dept that apart from the leaks in the #bayham main building one of the toilet blocks now not working.
“Three toilets now for 250+ kids & parents this Saturday. Really need to get the site redeveloped fit for 2023… ooh wait. #lease.”
This tweet on February 7 was posted alongside a gif (moving image) of a snail.
The Times put the issue to the Borough Council for comment on Wednesday (February 8).
Later that day, the football club’s Twitter account posted: “Thank you to @TWellsCouncil #wendyfitzsimmons for her time today discussing the issues with our club chair @stu_new64 (Stuart Newman).
“Credit where due as good to see the issues being addressed quickly with a resolution to repair after being reported earlier this week #bayham.”
The following day (February 9) the Times contacted the chairman of the football club. He declined to go on the record.
However, on social media he said: “Appreciate Wendy & @TWellsCouncil quick assistance with the immediate issues #Bayham @twforesters & #TWBC still some distance apart agreeing a lease for the site AFTER guidance from @FootballFoundtn last year making it financially viable for us & hopefully the local community.”
Councillor Wendy Fitzsimmons, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Wellbeing and Culture said: “The damp issue and leaking toilets are being dealt with by the Council’s Property and Estates team. Stuart Newman, chair of Foresters Football Club was delighted by the swift and effective response.”