Mansfield Harriers told to leave Berry Hill Park home

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ATHLETIC club members are holding an emergency meeting today to discuss the club’s future after they were told to vacate their Berry Hill Park home by the end of the month.

Mansfield Harriers & AC have received formal notification from the Trustees of Berry Hill Park that they must remove all equipment from the site by 30th September following the trustees’ decision to terminate its status as the park’s resident athletic club.

This is the latest development in a long-running dispute between the two parties over the use of the athletics facilities at the park, but would leave the club homeless unless some agreement can be reached.

Harriers’ interim chairman Ted Grey said that members are ‘totally disgusted’ that the situation has come to this when their differences could be resolved with a meeting.

He said: “I firmly believe if we could get round a table with a few from here and a few from the Trust, we could sort it out very quickly.”

Mr Grey said that the dispute was over a variety of different matters, but centres mostly on the failure of the two parties to agree a written user agreement that would formalise the club’s terms of use of the athletics facilities.

The lack of a service user agreement has meant that there have been constant disagreements about the amount and payment of hire charges and what facilities the club has access to or has responsibility for.

The Harriers say that the situation has not been resolved because the trustees have refused to meet with club officials.

“It could be sorted out before the end of the month if they agreed to meet,” added Mr Grey.

“What we have wanted to do since May is sit down with the trustees. We have had no head-to-head contact with the trustees - it’s all done through the secretary.”

The Harriers have not had full access to the athletics facilities at Berry Hill Park for several months and have lost a lot of income by not holding home meetings at the park this season.

The club is also worried that if it is forced to remove its equipment from the park it will impact on school athletics activities in Mansfield.

Ray Jackson-Smith, secretary to the board of Trustees of Berry Hill Park, said that the trustees are meeting this morning about the situation and will make a full response to the Harriers’ claims after that.

He added that it is incorrect to say that the Harriers have been thrown out of or banned from Berry Hill Park.

Mr Jackson-Smith explained that they are no longer classed as the resident club and cannot keep their equipment there, but can apply to use the facilities by filling in the usage application form available.