Hopes that Britain’s success at the Olympic Games will inspire a new generation in Midhurst and Easebourne have been dealt a bitter blow by West Sussex County Council.
The council is closing down the playing fields at the redundant Midhurst Rother College site in Easebourne, leaving nowhere in town for dozens of young members of Midhurst and Easebourne Football Club to play.
The decision has been attacked by the club’s chairman Darren Chiverton and committee member Chris Wigley.
“Everyone has been talking about the Olympic legacy after a fantastic fortnight of sport and the brilliant results for Team GB,” said Mr Wigley, “but the county council doesn’t seem to have been watching or listening.”
Mr Chiverton said the news the county council was putting a padlock on the gate and shutting out the young footballers had been a big blow.
“It came as a bit of a shock and we were very disappointed they didn’t talk to us first,” he said.
The school site in Wheelbarrow Castle was vacated last month by Midhurst Rother College which is moving into its new school at Midhurst for the start of the September term.
Plans for the future use of the school are still under discussion with the county council but the football club has been told the padlocks will go on the gate on September 1 and the two pitches there will no longer be mowed, maintained or marked out.
A spokesman for West Sussex County Council (WSCC) said: “We will be meeting with the club to discuss how it can continue using the pitches.
“Easebourne Intermediate school site is being handed back to the county council on September 1. In the transitional period until Easebourne Primary School moves on to the intermediate school site, WSCC is working to ensure on-going use by authorised community groups. We will be working with ULT to find out more about groups that have used the site, so we can look at suitable arrangements with the club and others.”