Future of Estover Road field in March in doubt after fire
PUBLISHED: 10:49 13 July 2010 | UPDATED: 10:04 14 July 2010
THE future of a sports field could have been thrown into jeopardy after vandals started a fire.
Arsonists broke into the portakabin changing rooms in Estover Road, March and set alight to chairs and equipment inside.
They wreaked so much havoc the Estover Playing Fields Association fears the building, which is also used as a club room, will have to be written off - with dire consequences for the venue.
Organisers worry that if they cannot attract teams to play at the ground due to a lack of changing facilities, footballers will go elsewhere and render Estover Road a wasteland.
Nearby resident Susan Clenshaw, from Estover Playing Fields Association, said: “It’s not worth a lot to anyone else but it is worth so much to us.”
Ms Clenshaw has now appealed for donations to repair the building and save the fields from potential ruin.
She says it has been difficult enough as it is to attract teams to play at Estover Road because their changing rooms have limited facilities.
Monday’s (July 12) fire, which started at about 8.20pm, means there is only a changing room for one team, making it hard to stage a match unless the fire-damaged portakabin is fixed.
And Ms Clenshaw said: “I don’t think we’re going to get the money to do repairs.”
She revealed that Estover Road Playing Fields Association’s funding from Fenland District Council had been cut from £7,000 a year to just £5,000 per annum.
Damaged facilities will make it even harder to get money, Ms Clenshaw said.
The association secretary added: “I feel quite upset about what has happened. We are trying to keep going on a shoestring budget and this has a huge knock on effect.”
March Saracens football team manager Mick Jordan said: “It is a bit sad really. It is the start of a new football season and we are trying to keep a team going. It’s just mindless vandalism.”
March fire station manager Tony Raine added: “When people start deliberate fires like this, they are putting themselves and others in danger.”