Wales

Bridgend sports clubs face 500% rise in facilities costs

Football pitch in Coity, Bridgend
Image caption Council leaders say they can no longer afford to subsidise the use of sports facilities

Sports clubs in one county have been asked to cover a hike of up to 500% in the cost of hiring sports facilities

Clubs in Bridgend will have to pay more than £300 per match to use council pitches from next year after councillors voted through plans.

Football and rugby clubs face an increase from £56 to £305 per game from September, while charges for cricket teams will rise from £40 to £343.

Bridgend council said it needs to cut £35m over the next four years.

The council's cabinet backed the decision at a meeting on Wednesday after being challenged by opposition councillors who demanded more details, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Cabinet members said it was not their intention for clubs to pay more, but for facilities to be taken over by clubs through asset transfers.

Richard Edwards, from Bridgend Town Juniors claimed the council's communication had been "terrible".

"If you spoke to anyone in any organisation and tell them that it costs £300 per game to provide the pitch and the pavilion, they would fall over laughing," he said.

"I can't think of one facility that clubs use that would pass health and safety, how can they quote £300 a game - it's nonsense."

There are 293 sports teams in the county, associated with 60 football, rugby, cricket and bowls clubs.

Plaid group leader Tim Thomas told cabinet members the increased charges "will be the death of many clubs".

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