Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pitched Battle; RESIDENTS' COMPLAINTS COULD MEAN END FOR FOOTBALL CLUB

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Pitched Battle; RESIDENTS' COMPLAINTS COULD MEAN END FOR FOOTBALL CLUB

Article excerpt

Byline: By LISA HUTCHINSON

IT'S a grassroots football club which has scored a goal with hundreds of local youngsters wanting to put their soccer talents to the test.

But organisers and kids say they have been kicked where it hurts after council officials have threatened to lock the gates to their pitches over a traffic dispute.

It's a blow to more than 250 youngsters between seven and 17 who play for Heaton Hawks youth and junior teams, as the future of their club hangs in the balance.

Their pitches are situated behind the trendy town houses recently built by Bett Homes on the old Heaton Manor School site, off Benton Road, Benton, Newcastle.

It is understood residents who moved there were fully aware they were buying property with a through-road to the Heaton Hawks pitches at the back of them.

But organisers say a handful of upset residents are threatening its future by complaining about the amount of cars that pass their front doors on match days.

Now football organisers have been told the main gates to the football club pitches, known as the Manors, where they have played since 2000, could be locked if the traffic problem is not resolved.

Heaton Hawks club secretary John Bower, 50, of High Heaton, Newcastle, said: "It seems a handful of residents are unhappy with the amount of traffic passing their doors.

"But they were fully aware that the through-road to the pitches goes past their properties when they bought their homes.

"We believe only five or six people have objected, yet the council seems to be taking their side rather than listen to hundreds of kids wanting to play football.

"We have 17 teams and this is a fantastic place for the kids to go, where they get exercise, have fun and learn respect.

"The council says it wants the traffic problem sorted by the end of the month or they'll lock our gates so we can't get vehicle access. …

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