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Football club attacks use of Saltaire pitch for concert
An outdoor rock concert cancelled due to torrential rain still caused serious damage to football and cricket pitches due to deep ruts caused by vehicles used on site.
The football club which plays on the fields, now surrounded with muddy trenches, has joined a councillor in criticising the decision to stage the Titus Rocks tribute festival in the first place.
Paul Whitehead, the chairman of Salts Juniors Football club which has 550 players, said it was against the idea as the site only has one narrow access point and because the ground, at Hirst Lock in Saltaire, was prone to being waterlogged.
“We opposed it but were told that the organisers had got permission from Bradford Council and it was going ahead.
“The ground is naturally boggy and the potential for problems was always there,” Mr Whitehead said.
“If it had happened and 5,000 people had been jumping up and down on the pitches they would have been totally ruined.
“As it is they are surrounded by very deep ruts, more than one foot deep.
“We want three things: for the ground to be put right by the organisers, for it not to be re-arranged at Hirst Locks for some later date or to become an annual event.”
Shipley ward councillor Martin Love (Green) has written to the Council’s leisure cabinet member, Coun Andrew Thornton, to demand that the damage be repaired by the Titus Rocks organisers and not at the taxpayers’ expense.
He said: “The Titus Rocks event should not have been granted permission in the first place due to access problems and also the fact there is no adequate parking. I have had confirmation from the Council that the organisers will make the ground good again at their expense.”
Baildon Councillor Debbie Davies, who has a son who plays for Salts Juniors, said she was surprised the festival had got the go-ahead in the first place. She said: “There are always loads of matches cancelled because the ground gets water-logged so easily.
“It’s a totally unsuitable place to bank on having an outdoor concert.”
The Council’s bereavement and amenities manager John Scholefield said: “We are sorry that due to the heavy rain the football and cricket pitches were damaged by vehicles moving equipment for the cancelled Titus Rocks event.
“The damage to the Hirst Wood Site will be repaired at the expense of the organisers of the festival and we expect the football field will be available for the start of next season.
“Alternative arrangements are in place for the cricket team over the next few weeks until the boundary areas can be restored to a safe condition.
“This event was not staged to make money for the Council but for the benefit of local people and visitors to enjoy a Bank Holiday musical and family treat.”
The event’s organisers could not be contacted for comment.
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