There appears to be a presumption that building on the playing field is a done deal. Fortunately the Planning Law requires all planning applications to be published and for the public to comment on the application. As mentioned in a previous Blog there were 60 Comments submitted with only two in favour but one of those was submitted via a false name and address.
I have heard, but nothing is confirmed, that the Planning Minister will be considering the application in public next month. Once a date is known I will publish the details via another Blog.
Regular readers will know that for many years the playing field has had two football pitches marked out between the cricket pitch. One pitch is for the Parish football team and the other for the school which because of FA Rules must be a lot smaller than the adult pitch.
Instead of allowing both pitches to be used until the planning decision is known, the Parish football club was given the order of the boot and told to find a pitch elsewhere. The feasibility study carried out in 2009 was quite specific in that it stated that if it was decided to build on the playing field, assistance had to be given to the Parish Club to find an alternative pitch.
One would have assumed that those tasked with that responsibility would have ensured that the Parish team at least played in St Martin, but no, that is not the case. What has been arranged is a temporary ground share in a neighbouring parish which does not have any training facilities.
To overcome the problem the club has been allowed to train on the playing field which has floodlighting. One could say that half a point is better than no points at all, but that is poor compensation for the loss of its home pitch.
A couple of week ends ago whilst on my usual weekend bike ride I happened to pass the playing field and almost fell off when I saw that the adult pitch had been marked out. I thought that a bout of sanity had broken out at the Education Department and that the pitch was being marked so that the Parish club could use the pitch whilst waiting for the planning decision. However when I went on to the pitch I realised that it had been marked out for a junior pitch which is much smaller than the adult pitch.
I did notice that the holes had not been dug to insert the junior sized goal posts. I therefore immediately emailed the Education Minister who also happens to be the Sports Minister and copied the email to his two assistant Ministers and to the Education Chief Officer. I pointed out what I had seen and said that if it had been decided to allow the school to play on the field until the planning decision was known then the parish football team should be allowed to continue using their pitch.
Very importantly I said that as the holes had not been dug to insert the goal posts, whoever was responsible for digging them should be told not do so, but told to mark out both pitches and insert the goal posts in the holes which are already in place.
Unfortunately my email was ignored, the holes have been dug and the goal posts erected. There is now the ludicrous situation where the adults can use the junior pitch to train on but cannot play matches on it as it is too small.
I did ask the Minister if he would tell me who was responsible for deciding to literally move the goal posts as the decision was childish and vindictive. I know that those at the Education Department are not happy that their plans may have been thwarted but they should not have counted their chickens until they are hatched. Neither should they be taking their displeasure out on the Parish Football Club who is not responsible for the planning process.
No doubt those responsible for moving the goal posts and those who have let it happen will be glowing with satisfaction at what they have achieved. However in my book they have acted dishonourably and are not fit to fill the positions they occupy.