Horley HC have been left “dismayed” over a decision to convert the pitches they hire into 3G surfaces.
The Surrey/W Sussex club, based near Gatwick, could lose both of the school pitches it currently relies on to play hockey – one of which has been their home for the last decade – and said they had not been consulted on the decision.
Horley recently found out that the proposal to convert the school pitches into artificial grass pitchs had been passed, with work scheduled to begin later this month.
The club believe that Crawley Borough Council is contradicting its own new pitch strategy which states ‘the need to preserve sufficient multi-sport artificial surfaces’.
However Horley say there is already a lack of provision in the area for clubs without their own pitches.
A petition has been set up to stop the 3G pitch installations at their school venues, while Horley say that England Hockey have been “assisting throughout”.
“We are dismayed that we have not been consulted on this decision. We love being able to provide hockey to all, from all backgrounds, adults and juniors and without these facilities we will be unable to do so,” the club said.
Local councils didn’t comment in time on the matter when contacted by The Hockey Paper, while construction outfit BAM – which ran the consultation – didn’t respond to questions.
Rob Fielder, Horley M2’s captain, said: “Artificial grass/3G pitches will be the death of grass roots hockey unless we stand up and speak out.
“There is a lack of sufficient playing surfaces in the surrounding areas and we’re desperately trying to do everything we can to highlight this major issue not only for us, but for hockey clubs in the UK in the hope that we may be able to overturn this decision with enough support and stop the very real possibility that Horley HC may ‘cease to be’.”
Fears over 3G pitches affecting hockey have become an all-too-familiar theme in recent years.
The problems facing Horley are further compounded by the fact that the club cites 95 per cent of its current members from a state school background.
If your hockey club is threatened by a lack of provision or closure due to council decisions, please get in touch with us so we can raise your concern.