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Chairman of Pinchbeck United Football Club reveals talks over "moving out of the area" after parish councillors object to plans to open a new junior academy and to improve Knight Street sports ground




The future of Pinchbeck United Football Club could lie outside the village because of opposition to its plans for a new junior academy.

Chairman Gary Coomes has challenged Pinchbeck Parish Council to prove its support for the club, or face losing it and 60 years of history.

Pinchbeck United, also known as the Knights, joined the Peterborough and District League in 1958 before winning two league titles in a row between 1989 and 1991.

Footballers from Pinchbeck United's senior and junior teams. Photo by Tim Wilson. (6876670)
Footballers from Pinchbeck United's senior and junior teams. Photo by Tim Wilson. (6876670)

But the club's spectacular rise over the last four years to United Counties League (UCL) Premier Division status now is under threat after parish councillors voted on Monday to oppose plans for improvements to Pinchbeck's sports ground in Knight Street.

Mr Coomes said: "In 2017, we made the decision to go for promotion to the UCL, subject to having a suitable ground to play on.

"At the time, we were led to believe that there would be no problems with a planning application to improve the ground at Knight Street.

Pinchbeck United were crowned United Counties League Division One champions in April 2018. Photo by Tim Wilson.
Pinchbeck United were crowned United Counties League Division One champions in April 2018. Photo by Tim Wilson.

"Pinchbeck Parish Council asked the club to go away and put together a business plan, at substantial cost to ourselves, so villagers could come and see what we were going to do.

"We're now two years down the line, having done everything the parish council asked us to do, without us getting anywhere.

"So we're looking at alternative sites for the club, all of them outside the area of Pinchbeck."

Pinchbeck United FC chairman, with manager Ian Dunn (left) and assistant manager Allan Ross. Photo supplied. (6876666)
Pinchbeck United FC chairman, with manager Ian Dunn (left) and assistant manager Allan Ross. Photo supplied. (6876666)

The club had hoped to turn eight acres of land known as Pinchbeck Wood, off Northgate, into a site suitable for its 17 junior teams and its successful senior squad who won two trophies and two promotions between 2015 and 2018.

Pinchbeck United currently uses the Glebe Field, off Knight Street, Pinchbeck, for first team training sessions during the week, along with matches involving its junior teams.

However, due to ground regulations laid down by the Football Association (FA), the Knights are unable to play UCL Premier Division matches there, using Spalding's Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field instead.

The club already has planning permission from South Holland District Council to improve the Glebe Field.

But it needs the permission of the parish council, as landowners, to carry out the work.

Mr Coomes said: "All we want to do, as a club, is to play football and we're not bothered about the petty politics that's involved with Pinchbeck Parish Council.

Pinchbeck United before their game against Rugby Town at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, Spalding, in November 2018. Photo by Tim Wilson.
Pinchbeck United before their game against Rugby Town at Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field, Spalding, in November 2018. Photo by Tim Wilson.

"But I have no confidence in anything the council says to us any more when its members can stand up in a meeting and be so biased in their presentations.

"It hurts us not being able to play football in our home village, especially as we've had major success in the last three years.

"But we've been let down by the parish council and so the club secretary is talking to the FA about the legality of moving out of the area."



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