Tiptree: U’s urged to compromise over training ground

COLCHESTER United FC must compromise over its training hours to avoid antagonising residents, parish councillors have claimed.

Colchester Borough Council has received complaints over the times it has been using the Florence Park training ground in Tiptree.

Residents and parish councillors from the village claim the club has been using the site outside of agreed hours.

The club has recently submitted an application to amend three of the 34 conditions placed on the initial planning permission.

These include extending the training times to 10am until 6pm from Monday to Saturday and 10am until 1pm on Sunday, permission to use more than two pitches at a time for one-off events and the removal of a 40m buffer zone between the pitches and future homes.

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Vice-chairman of Tiptree Parish Council Steve Bays said: “Colchester Borough Council said there were conditions, so residents in the area are up in arms because they believe they are being broken already.”

He said they needed to consult with neighbours, and called for the club to compromise over the issue to avoid any dispute.

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Colchester Utd say since the initial application was made two years ago, circumstances have changed.

Club chairman Robbie Cowling said: “When we put the application together we were asked what our training times were and that was the case then, but they have changed since joining the Premier League’s Elite Player Performance Plan to develop youth football.

“We didn’t go out of our way to consult this time round. We went to our planners who have submitted the application by following the rules. As I understand it, while it is with the council, we should not be penalised for training outside the official times.

“I think the restrictions are unreasonable and it’s really making a mountain out of a small molehill.

“What has been provided by the club is a fantastic facility for youngsters to fulfil their potential so it would be a shame if that’s not recognised.”

Colchester Borough Council said it is arranging a meeting between residents and the club to discuss the issue.

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