Hopes that fence grant will solve pitch issues

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Problems of youths breaking into Annagh United Football Club should be rectified once a grant for a perimeter fence is finalised, the club has said.

The club’s vice-chairman Alan Flavelle revealed that it has applied for a grant which will enable it to erect a fence and resurface the car park - and is awaiting final confirmation of the award.

Last month, the club highlighted the problems it was having at the pitch, which was recently upgraded from grass to a 3G facility at the cost of £400,000 to the club.

Issues have included fire damage to the synthetic surface, broken seats and ripped fencing.

And just this week, a man who lives beside the football ground called for a strong, high fence to be built around the ground. He said youths were trying to access the ground every day and at all hours.

He said, “Cars are parked all over the development, often blocking in local residents, as well as parents actually dropping off their children who then go on to scale the fences to get in.

“The problems have been exacerbated since the laying of the 3G pitch. It’s now seen as a place for youths, including very small children, to hang out. The constant noise, vandalism, not to mention the shouting and swearing, all in earshot of my own children, is horrendous, and this is often from very early morning till gone 10pm at night.

“The football ground is effectively being used as a public recreation facility which it most certainly is not.”

Previously the club had pointed to the lack of recreational facilities for children in the Annagh area, saying they had discussed this with ABC Council - a problem echoed by community representatives.

A council spokesperson said council is currently drafting a new play strategy for the borough.

She said, “At present, the Annagh area falls within two play parks provisions - one in Brownstown Public Park and the play park in the Pleasure Gardens, Portadown.”