PLANS to introduce parking charges at Ilkley Lido have been greeted with dismay by cricketers and pre-school staff who use Olicanian Cricket Club’s facilities.

The club’s Denton Road ground is leased from Bradford Council, the body that yesterday to introduce the parking charges, but the club does not have a car park.

Now there are fears that Olicanian CC players, opposition teams and supporters will have to pay the charges every time a match is played at the ground and during practise sessions.

Mr David House, Chairman of Olicanian CC said: “We’re horrified. There is no doubt that these proposals represent a significant threat to the wellbeing of what is a community cricket club.”

The club’s pavilion is also home to All-Saints Pre-school, a not-for-profit charitable organisation run by a committee of volunteer parents. The pre-school currently has 40 children under the age of five and parents dropping off and picking up their children on weekdays could, in theory, be liable for charges twice daily. Charges could also apply to nursery staff.

Pre-school manager Vicky Wood said: “We are a rapidly expanding pre-school but the proposed parking charges, if implemented, will impact hugely on our sustainability. If parents are liable for charges, we feel it will damage our ability to to attract parents going forward. Bradford Council has not consulted with us on any level. It is as though we don’t exist and yet we are a useful resource for the local community.”

Olicanians runs three senior teams which play in the Airedale and Wharfedale Senior League. It also has around 100 children in its junior section and runs several junior teams which play in the Airedale Junior League.

Mr House said: “During the height of the cricket season, many of our players and members are at the club up to five times a week and that is going to mean a huge chunk of cash being spent by them on car parking fees. The irony is that our ground is actually owned by the council so, in effect, these charges will make it less likely that people will want to use a council-owned asset.

“We don’t think they have thought through the ramifications of this proposal and we are calling on them to make provision for our members and visiting cricketers to be able to park on our side of the Lido, as has always been the case, without parking charges being levied.

“We are also hugely concerned about what this means for All-Saints Pre-school which uses our pavilion all year round,” he added.

The cricket club is sited on one side of the Lido. Players, members and supporters drive around the rear of the Lido to get to the cricket club.

Olicanian’s facilities have also been used in recent times for school orienteering events and by Ilkley Cycling Club.

Olicanian CC officials have had meetings with the council but, as yet, an arrangement to allow “private parking” on the cricket club’s side of the Lido has yet to be agreed.

Originally formed as an Ilkley Grammar School old boys team almost a century ago, Olicanian CC has made huge strides in the last 25 years. This summer, it is due to host the Airedale and Wharfedale League’s prestigious Waddilove Cup Final for the first time.

“We only lease the ground from Bradford Council and yet we have made huge improvements to the facilities over the course of the last 25 years,” said Mr House.

“When we signed our new lease, only two years ago, the rental value was based on the parking arrangements at that time. We are a non-profit-making community organisation which already pays charges to the Council in the form of rent. It’s discouraging when we’re faced with parking charges being introduced as well,” he added.