Caterham Pumas Youth Football Club chairman Mike Mihalop met with TDC on Friday, 20 May to discuss the charges but a resolution has not yet been found, with no confirmation of a date of when that will happen.
Mr Mihalop said the club was first made aware of the charges to train on 8 May, and that charging community clubs to use council grounds was a new council policy:
“Caterham Pumas, along with many other community sports groups, has used Queen’s Park for training sessions. It’s a green open space which parents in the community, as taxpayers, pay for.
We do not make any money at Caterham Pumas: whatever we earn goes back into the club. We provide a valuable community asset to Caterham and we have over 650 children that support the club, with their parents.
TDC are looking to charge a fixed fee of £394 for a year, but they could not clarify if that was for Queens Park or for all of the facilities in Tandridge. If I go to Grange Park in Old Coulsdon, which is in Croydon, then I won’t get charged. We are not utilising goals, pitches, goalmouths, or any facilities which Tandridge are maintaining other than the grass.
They (TDC) are trying to jump on us, thinking we’re professional coaches because we charge players subs to join our club.”
Caterham Pumas is a community-based football club, formed in 1998 and run by volunteers, which offers players of all abilities from 4-18 years old the chance to train and play. The club plays their home matches behind The Fox pub in Caterham. Mr Mihalop said training sessions for the club could not take place there because it would damage the grass, making the pitch unplayable.
Tandridge District Council said in a statement:
“We have held initial discussions with Caterham Pumas over its use of Queens Park and will be providing a response shortly. We’ll confirm more details as soon as we can.”
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