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Concerns over safety of disabled bowling club members lead to storage plans being deferred

Concerns for the safety of disabled bowling club members have led to plans for a football club to store its equipment nearby being placed on hold.

Bradley Park Bowling Club in Wrexham, which caters for people who are disabled, partially sighted and a stroke club, has been targeted by youths throwing objects at members and vandalising their all-weather pitch.

Officials at Llay United Youth Football Club had applied to put a shipping container next to the green after moving to the recreation complex off Park Wall Road in Bradley. However, the bowling club raised objections as members feared youngsters could climb on top of it to cause damage to the £250,000 facility.

Secretary Louise Roberts said she had serious concerns for the safety of club members.

Addressing a planning committee meeting, she said: “To date we’ve had bottles, bricks, eggs, wheels and even a scooter. We’ve also been shot at with plastic bullets.

“The problems have been so severe that we’ve had to spend £2,000 upgrading our CCTV system.

“Our green has been damaged several times in the past and allowing the container in this location will make it easier for this to occur.

“The all-weather surface of the green means that it’s difficult and costly to repair and not just a case of replacing turf.

“We’re worried that we could end up in a position where we can’t afford to fund further repairs and this will cause the club to fold.

“With the container in the proposed location, we don’t feel we can guarantee the safety of these vulnerable adults and their carers.”

Llay Utd, which has 120 players, left its home at Alyn Waters Country Park earlier this year after Wrexham Council decided to introduce parking charges.

The club’s proposals for the container were supported by planning officers, who felt its location would not cause any safety issues. Ms Roberts said while the bowling club supported the children’s right to play football in Bradley, she felt the container should be moved 15 metres away from the green.

Politicians expressed mixed views on the plans, with the area’s county councillor David Griffiths voicing his opposition.

However Cllr Tina Mannering, who represents the same ward, gave them her backing, saying: “The land is council owned and we should be encouraging sport for children to use within our community.

“Childhood obesity is rising and we should be supporting children in sport activities to be responsible people and successful learners.

“Llay United are a very successful football team and their container will support them in their long-term sustainability.”

Councillors unanimously voted in favour of deferring the proposals for a month to allow time for the clubs to try to come to an agreement.

By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter (more here on the LDR scheme).

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