Councillors fight to save athletic ground

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MEXBOROUGH’S Labour councillors have vowed to fight proposals to scrap a council maintenance agreement which could result in the closure of Mexborough Athletic Ground.

The historic site, off Adwick Road, has football pitches, a cricket field, plus many other facilities, and has been the sporting hub of the town for around 100 years.

Trustees fear the ground could be forced to close after they were told Doncaster Council plan to cease grounds maintenance to all miners’ welfares in the borough by April next year.

This would mean services provided free by the authority, such as grass cutting and maintenance repairs, would have to be funded by the Mexborough Athletic Sports Trust at an estimated annual cost of £20,000.

Representatives at the ground have said they will struggle to afford these new costs, and so future activities at the site are at risk.

The council is currently undertaking a consultation exercise to seek public opinion about the plans.

Mexborough’s Labour councillors, David Holland and Sue Phillips, have slammed elected mayor Peter Davies’ plans as a “disaster.”

Coun Holland said: “The mayor has proposed the withdrawal of grounds maintenance from all Doncaster’s miners’ welfares.

“The council’s Labour group is totally opposed to the plans and councillor Sue Phillips and myself are determined to fight to keep this vital facility for Mexborough.

“It would be a disaster for the town if it were to lose the miners’ welfare sports ground.

“I believe the mayor’s actions are outside the council’s budget and policy framework and if I am successful with this argument it will have to be withdrawn.

“The Labour group will do what it can within the budget setting process but, at the end of the day, the mayor can just ignore us even though the Labour group has 44 of the 63 councillors.”

Coun Phillips added: “I would urge the public of Mexborough to get involved in the consultation process and tell this mayor how important the miners’ welfare is to Mexborough.”

Last week, Joan Beck, Doncaster Council’s Director of adults and communities, said the authority is having to find “huge savings” and a review of services to miners welfares is underway.“

She added: “The final decision has not been made.”