FENCED OFF: ‘Disgraceful’ dog fouling on rugby pitches
Salford City Rooster's new community clubhouse will have direct access to its pitches, Image: Salford City Roosters
A grassroots rugby club in Salford has been given the go ahead to fence off its playing fields due to a ‘disgraceful’ amount of dog muck found on its pitches.
Salford City Roosters has been granted planning permission to erect the 2.4 metre high metal fencing and gates around the fields off Hallsworth Road.
It comes after councillors raised concerns about the loss of public access to the land which objectors claim was donated to residents by a former mayor.
But the amateur rugby league club has promised the playing fields will not be closed off to the community – as long as people do not bring their dogs along.
Chairperson Chris Irwin told Salford council’s planning panel at a meeting on Thursday (October 7) that the club needs the fences to protect the pitches.
He said: “The dog fouling is a massive issue. The amount of dog muck cleared on a daily basis by the coaches is nothing short of disgraceful in all honesty.
“Despite this, we’re only human, we do miss bits when we’re clearing up this mess and unfortunately that means kids getting tackled in dog mess which is a major health issue for these young kids and adults playing in it.
“We want a community club where parents feel welcome and feel safe bringing their children. And as much as we try and do that, it is very, very difficult because you need eyes of a hawk to find some of this stuff.”
Irwin also told councillors that there has been ‘a hell of a lot of vandalism’ at the site near Eccles where the club has been located for the last 40 years.
He spoke of steel railings on posts around the pitch regularly being stolen.
Around 20 years ago, goalposts said to be the largest in the world which had been donated by Swinton Lions, were chopped down with a chainsaw, he said.
And more recently, an equipment container at the side of the pitches was burnt down, destroying £6,000 worth of post protectors and tackle shields and preventing rugby league games from taking place for two weekends.
A petition supporting the planning application was signed by 539 people.
Salford City Roosters is currently relocating its clubhouse with a new facility recently built at a cost of more than £1m which will be closer to the pitches.
The club received £377,863 from the Rugby League World Cup 2021 Capital Grants Legacy Programme with Salford council contributing £690,000.
The site of the old clubhouse, formerly known as Moat Hall Sports Centre, is set to be turned into social housing with 18 houses and 30 apartments.
Former players, parents and friends of the club have been invited to the old clubhouse on October 16 for a final farewell before it closes after 40 years.
The planning panel approved the application to erect fences around the fields.
Words: Joseph Timan, Local Democracy Reporter
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