Council looks to end free welfares deal

DONCASTER Council is set to stop looking after miners’ welfare sports grounds for free after more than 30 years.

The decision was made by the council’s cabinet after the arrangement, thought to date back 30 years, was brought to light in a review as part of the cost-cutting round currently underway.

Mayor Peter Davies, said the meeting: “Fourteen cricket and football grounds across the borough currently receive free grounds maintenance, when others have to pay.

“Some grounds are better off than others, and it is not fair.”

CISWO, the miners’ welfare organisation, owns the land and Mr Davies said it should be responsible for paying for the maintenance.

Mr Davies, said: “Why should the taxpayers pay for it? It should be up to the land owners keep up the land.”

Miners’ welfare officials are worried that plans to end the maintenance agreements with the tehe council will result in the demise of bowling greens football and cricket pitches across the borough.

However, Mr Davies said that many cricket and football clubs manage to maintain their own pitches.

The welfares, often covering ten to 20 acres, are some of the best rated sports facilities in Doncaster and are home to a number of sporting fixtures, with many also used for community events.

Council maintenance is due to cease on April 1, 2012, at the 14 sites across the borough.

The fields affected will be Mexborough, Thorne/Moorends, Armthorpe, Bentley, Denaby and Cadeby, Rossington, Brodsworth, Stainforth/Hatfield Main, Dunscroft/Hatfield Main, Askern, Edlington/Yorkshire Main and Highfields, all of which will have to provide their own maintenance.

Alan Bell, chairman of the trustees at Brodsworth Welfare, said it would cost up to £30,000 to buy new maintenance equipment, and he worries that it will stop sporting activity.

He also expressed concern that the pitches, through lack of use, could become housing developments.