ONLINE POLL: New row between Berry Hill Park and Harriers AC

NNAC12-1500-1''Mansfield Berry Hill Park
NNAC12-1500-1''Mansfield Berry Hill Park

MEMBERS of Mansfield athletic club the Harriers faces an uncertain future after being told by Berry Hill Park’s trustees its Thursday training session has been cancelled.

Harriers’ chairman, Paul Gair, was given the news by Berry Hill Park Ltd’s secretary Ray Jackson-Smith on 27th September - just one week before.

The move means youngsters who use the track facilities will be forced to train on Mansfield’s roads in the dark as the nights draw in.

New runners coach Maddie Collinge said the trustees had offered to swap Thursday’s session for a Wednesday or Friday instead but this was just not practical.

Said Maddie: “Friday night is not good because people often race at the weekends and Wednesday is a rest day after the Tuesday session. Thursday has always been the best option - that is when we have always trained for the last 25 years.

“Hundreds of families are affected by this decision.”

Mansfield Harriers has up to 400 members, of which 30 per cent are juniors aged 9-18. The loss of the Berry Hill facilities means athletes such as shot putters, long jumpers or javelin throwers will have nowhere to train on a Thursday.

The slot has now been taken over by youth football club the Woodhouse Colts, forcing the Harriers to meet in the park’s busy car park rather than at its clubhouse.

A Colts spokesman said the club had used the park on Thursday but was now making other arrangements.

Ray Jackson-Smith, secretary to the park’s board of trustees, said he was able to get more money offering the facilities per night to others and the Harriers owed the trustees money. Mayor Tony Egginton said it made sense to keep Berry Hill an athletics venue. He added: “I will endeavour to meet with the trustees. It seems this saga has been going on and on.”