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Pitches closure a disaster for five clubs.

Byline: By Emma Stone

FOOTBALL teams in Coventry are searching for new homes following the closure of pitches in Little Heath.

The ground next to the former Courtaulds factory in Old Church Road will be without water and electricity in the coming months as the site is decommissioned - forcing the five clubs that use the site to play elsewhere.

And as the site's owners plan to redevelop the site, the pitches may be lost forever.

The factory is due to close in September, with the loss of 120 jobs, and the site is expected to be cleared completely two months later.

Under a historical agreement with Courtaulds, local football teams have been able to play at the site and six years ago a group of volunteers, who call themselves the Stars Consortium, took over the running of the pitches.

After a sale in March, the assets of the factory are now owned by a different company to the surrounding land, which is owned by Corsadi.

Paul Calcott, assistant manager and secretary of the Royal Hotel club, which has had two teams playing at the site for the past seven years, said: "Five clubs are looking for pitches. It's been a bit of a disaster really. We need somewhere by the first week in August."

He added: "We will keep going somehow. I would like the area to remain as an open public space of some sort and there is also a chance we could go back to it later on."

Tony Rose has volunteered his time at the ground for the past 17 years and is a member of the Stars Consortium.

He said: "It used to be a wonderful ground, used for all the district finals, but clubs will now struggle to find pitches."

A Corsadi spokesman said the company was in talks with Coventry City Council about the redevelopment of the site. He said: "Our intention is to keep that area as an open space but we don't know whether that will be football pitches or not.

"We are hoping the site will be able to be put on the market early next year - it will take until the end of the year to clear the site."

Anyone able to offer pitches for use by the teams should phone Paul on 07749 326924.

CAPTION(S):

RN270607FOOT1 BLOW... Paul Calcott (foreground) with (from left) Scott Webber, Coventry city councillors George Duggins and Lindsley Harvard, John Wilson, Andrew Draba, Steve Maddax, Danny Smith, Jim McClean and Nathan Grant, who are all concerned about the loss of the pitches. Picture: Richard Nelmes
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jun 30, 2007
Words:431
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