Heels dug in over Mrs Caddy’s Field

Build­ing there still an op­tion, ad­mits football club as lo­cals vent their fury in pub­lic meet­ing

Staines Informer - - NEWS - Matt Strud­wick

VIRGINIA Wa­ter Football Club says build­ing a new ground on green belt land that is cur­rently home to the Egham Royal Show is still an op­tion, de­spite grow­ing op­po­si­tion from res­i­dents.

Up to 130 peo­ple were at a stormy pub­lic meet­ing at Manor­crofts School to hear chair­man David McBride out­line the football club’s pro­pos­als to build a stand, flood­light­ing, a club­house with bar, chang­ing rooms and park­ing for around 170 cars and coaches on Mrs Caddy’s Field.

Mr McBride said the club was due to hold a meet­ing this week to con­sider its op­tions af­ter lis­ten­ing and tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion all of the com­ments.

“We con­tinue to have an obli­ga­tion to lo­cal res­i­dents, the coun­cil, the youth of to­day, and the fu­ture,” he said.

“Mrs Caddy’s Field is still very much our pre­ferred op­tion, but not our only one.

“But one thing is for sure, do­ing noth­ing is not one of them.”

The 19-acre site has been the home of the Egham Royal Show for the past 15 years.

Chris Fisher, of the Egham Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion, said he is more op­ti­mistic the club’s plans to move from its The Tim­bers ground in Crown Road to White­hall Lane are now dead fol­low­ing one of the an­gri­est meet­ings he has ever been to.

“It was the big­gest pub­lic meet­ing I’ve seen in Egham for get­ting on for 20 years,” he said.

“David McBride was given quite a kick­ing.”

He added: “He could hardly get any mo­men­tum go­ing at all and was con­stantly be­ing in­ter­rupted.

“It was ab­so­lute bed­lam. I think it left Mr McBride in no doubt what the mood in Egham is.”

Run­nymede Bor­ough Coun­cil held dis­cus­sions with the football club, as well as Virginia Wa­ter Scouts and the Egham Royal Show, in Fe­bru­ary about their plans for the prized 19-acre site.

Mr Fisher has crit­i­cised the coun­cil’s han­dling of the sit­u­a­tion, claim­ing the field was of­fered as a pos­si­ble so­lu­tion to the club’s ‘frus­trated am­bi­tions’.

“It will be a slap in the face for lo­cal opin­ion and democ­racy in Egham if the scheme still pro­ceeds to a planning ap­pli­ca­tion,” he said.

“The mes­sage of ‘Not on Mrs Caddy’s Field’ from the Egham pub­lic can barely be clearer.”

The pro­posal will now go to the coun­cil’s Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Com­mit­tee for con­sid­er­a­tion on Thurs­day June 16.

Paul Tur­rell, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Run­nymede Bor­ough Coun­cil, said: “We at the coun­cil noted the very strong re­ac­tion of a large num­ber of Egham res­i­dents to sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties on Caddy’s Field and we have there­fore de­cided to look at po­ten­tial al­ter­na­tive sites and dis­cus­sions have al­ready started.”

Dar­ren Pepe RS160765

Con­cerned lo­cals pic­tured at Mrs Caddy’s Field in Fe­bru­ary.

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