Frustrated residents have renewed appeals for fencing around two football pitches in Bury St Edmunds - to try and address an increasingly ‘serious’ problem of dog fouling.
Damien Parker, the borough council’s leisure and cultural operations manager, was in the hot seat on Monday defending St Edmundsbury’s refusal of £9,000 worth of fencing for the Oakes Road and Northumberland Avenue playing fields.
Stuart Codds said claims it would interfere with the fair at Oakes Road were ‘irrelevant’ because swinging gates could be installed to allow access.
He said: “We pay blatantly good money. Either the council puts in fencing or every time I can prove I’ve picked up dog mess, I don’t have to pay for that pitch that week - I think that’s fair enough.”
Kathy Brame, secretary of the Howards, said clubs received ‘minimal return’ for the £53.50 they paid to the council in fees for each game.
She said: “It’s not nice having to stop games because of dog poo. It holds up proceedings and is a big health and safety issue.”
Mark Stiff, FA licensed coach and chairman of CFC Bury, said: “It’s got to be addressed tonight because it is serious. We’ve got, I think, the best two pitches in Bury, but they’ve got to be looked after.”
County councillor Mark Ereira-Guyer asked why the borough council was ‘failing in this basic requirement to keep Bury clean’.
Offering to contribute £1,000 of his locality budget, he added: “I have to say that it is one of the wealthiest boroughs in the country and now we’re sitting here and they can’t find a few thousand pounds to do extra on this estate.”
Micky Pearce, former chairman of Suffolk FA, said the council’s four-point plan, which included distributing ‘no dog fouling leaflets’, had not worked and fencing - like that in place at Hardwick Heath - was urgently needed.
He said it would be a good investment because cleaner pitches would attract youth football teams to the area.
“Northumberland Avenue is the best pitch in Bury, outside of the Victory Sports Ground. However, it’s christened in Suffolk as ‘dog [mess] hill’ and that’s not something the borough should be proud of,” he said.
Cllr Paul Hopfensperger will now help formulate a plan, which could involve moving the Oakes Road pitch by a few feet, and work out costings.