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Basildon AC members' concern over state of their facilities
AN athletics club has hit out at the management of Basildon Sporting Village for failing to keep facilities up to scratch.
Basildon Athletics Club members are concerned at how aspects of the £38million sports centre have been neglected.
Among their complaints are grass which has been left to grow “knee deep”, bins not being emptied and their equipment being left outside in a storage cage they don’t have direct access to.
There are also concerns over the condition of the hammer cage and high jump bed.
These concerns came to a head when Basildon hosted athletes from Luton, Cambridge, Bedford, Thurrock and Biggleswade in a youth athletics meeting on Sunday.
Jacqui Childs, a coach at the club, said: “We were so embarrassed at the state of our track.
“I knew one girl who I used to coach before she moved to Cambridge and her parents couldn’t believe what had happened to the track.
“They said they were pleased they had moved to Cambridge, which makes me sad.
“Basildon is a great club which has provided past Olympians and has certainly got future Olympians in the making and we should have better facilities.”
Mrs Childs said the long grass made it very difficult for field judges to mark the lengths of throws and was proving a problem to hayfever sufferers, while others were even scared there might be snakes in the grass.
The club has also been frustrated by having to move their equipment store outside the arena.
Another club member, Valerie Surety, said: “This means a member of the Sporting Village staff has to unlock it whenever equipment is needed and it sometimes takes forever to find someone.
“The hurdles, which were always kept under cover by Basildon Council, are now left outside slowly going rusty.”
She added: “Also, the jumping pits are rarely dug over, unless a club member does it.
“The surrounding grass banks are a disgrace. I know it’s been raining, but grass can still be cut when it stops.
“It’s about time management remembered there has been an athletics club in Basildon for more than 60 years.”
Basildon councillor for leisure and arts, Kevin Blake, said he was disappointed no one from the athletics club had contacted him about their concerns, but added he would be happy to tour the venue with any concerned member.
He said: “I am not aware of the club having made any formal complaint to the Sporting Village.
“But I would be more than happy to meet with anyone from the club, go down and listen to their concerns.
“I don’t believe it for one moment, but if the Sporting Village is not looking after the track as it should, then we would take action.”
Tom Fletcher, General Manager of Basildon Sporting Village said: “We have an ongoing and good relationship with Basildon Athletics Club. As with other clubs using the centre, we meet with them regularly, and we listen to and act on any issues they raise.
"Although we have a maintenance programme in place, there will be issues from time to time and we will deal with these with the appropriate officers from the club. We have so far however received no major complaints from the club themselves or by any other club visiting the centre"