Harriers locked out of Berry Hill track

Disgruntled youngsters  who are members of the Mansfield Harriers now have no where to train
Disgruntled youngsters who are members of the Mansfield Harriers now have no where to train
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MANSFIELD Harriers Athletic Club has been banned from using the track and other facilities at Berry Hill Park.

The ban has been enforced by the park’s trustees amid allegations club members were verbally abusive towards secretary Ray Jackson-Smith and players from a junior football club training in the centre of the athletic track.

It is the latest spat between the two organisations - with the incident happening just a week after the Harriers’ long-standing Thursday track training session had been cancelled by the trustees.

Now the club has received a letter from the trustees saying it will be banned from using the park’s facilities from tomorrow.

Said Paul Gair, the Harriers chairman: “Tuesday will be the last session unless something can be done.

“We have the national cross-country relays (at Berry Hill) on (Friday) and I am hoping the club will have a good presence there.

“Obviously we do not condone any verbal threats but there has to be an understanding that this has been going on for two years now and it seems like every time we do something to appease (the park trustees’) latest demands they put another barrier in the way.”

The long-running saga began in November 2010 when the trustees took over responsibilty for park maintenance from the Harriers and began charging them a monthly fee of £714.89.

But due to shower, toilet and changing facilities not being available, a reduced fee was agreed from 1st December last year.

Mr Gair said attempts to get a user agreement signed had finally broken down as the trustees had claimed the Harriers owed rent arrears of around £1,000.

He added: “Ray and I had a chat over the phone and I said we had no issue as long as it was a figure we agreed upon, but there is a discrepancy in the £1,000 figure as toilet facilities were unavailable and training sessions were missed due to bad whether.”