Field of dreams is dividing opinion

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Residents are divided on the future use of the town’s Sir Halley Stewart Field as the district council faces mounting pressure to open it up for more public use.

Most people we spoke to are happy to share it with Spalding United, but criticised the proposed £10,000 cost of an 8ft-high fence to keep the public off the pitch and prevent it from being damaged.

Diana Sleight. SG170913-120TW

Diana Sleight. SG170913-120TW

Spalding resident Mark Cottam (34) said: “I have got some fond memories of the place. It’s a shame that they have got to think about putting a fence up like that because of the fear of damage to it, but with the day and age we are living in now people are like that and they just don’t seem to have respect for property.”

Mark is happy for the Tulips and public to share the field and says that’s better than selling it.

He said: “At one time I heard there were plans to get rid of it completely and build on it. When you get football games there, it brings people in and they obviously then go into the bars in town and it helps the economy a bit. We need such stuff in town.”

Spalding resident Sharon Cleary said the field being shared by the public and football is better than having locked gates.

She said: “It was left for the people of Spalding and it should be used for that, not solely for the football fans.

“If they opened the gates, it would probably get vandalised – I can understand why they want to protect the football pitch with a fence.”

Spalding mum Jenna Kennedy-Smith has football mad sons Kieran (9) and Liam (7) who play in junior teams for Spalding United and says the field should remain the home of the Tulips.

“There’s enough recreation grounds around Spalding for people to take their dogs but there’s not that many sporting facilities,” she said.

Colin Briggs, from Boston, has been a regular visitor to the field.

He says: “My feelings are that if something is put in trust for a particular use, then it should stay that way.”

Spalding resident Diana Sleight wouldn’t use the field if it were opened to the public, but would go there for special events.

She said it was a shame to have to spend £10,000 on a fence to protect the pitch.

Charlotte Davies (22), from Spalding, wouldn’t go to the field for a stroll on her own.

She said: “If I had got my goddaughters with me then I am sure they would want to use it. If it’s left to the town in trust, then they should open it up anyway. Fencing shouldn’t cost £10,000.”