University of Hertfordshire criticised over Hatfield playing fields
IT was meant to be the new home of sport in Hatfield – but instead it’s an unused and overgrown wasteland.
This week, the University of Hertfordshire was accused of driving sport out of the town, and of breaking a series of promises over the use of Angerland Common in South Hatfield.
The claims came from Jon Brindle, chairman of Sport Hatfield, a not-for-profit organisation set up to raise funds for the stadium that has never materialised.
Mr Brindle claimed that ever since the university helped obtain planning permission for a 450-seater grandstand, clubhouse and cricket pitch in 2006, it had dodged commitments to redevelop the land, which it owns, for community sports.
And he claimed the university’s promises over the new stadium, meant to be the new home ground for Hatfield Town Football Club, were little more than a front for the 700-car park and ride facility which was built four years ago.
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Mr Brindle said: “In 2003, the university publicly pledged to allow the building of a football stadium [at Angerland Common].
“A year later they applied for planning permission to build their park and ride and promptly closed down the playing fields.
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“As a consequence several clubs found they had nowhere to play and folded. Now, the playing fields are still closed and horribly overgrown.”
“The university used their pledges to support the stadium and youth football to promote their forthcoming planning application for a park and ride.”
But a university spokeswoman said: “The university was approached by Mr Brindle with a proposal that a stadium be built on the site. The university supported this proposal on the agreement that funding would be put forward from Hatfield Town FC.
“Unfortunately, funding from HTFC/Sport Hatfield was never realised and the plans have never progressed.”