Council’s cricket square weedkiller repair bill rises by another £3k

Hazardous chemicals on the cricket square at Baileys Court..

The cost of repairing damage caused to the Baileys Court cricket square by an “unexplained” incident involving weedkiller has risen by a further £3k, after Bradley Stoke Town Council agreed to fund additional “rectification works” over the winter months.

Damage to the cricket square first came to light last March, when staff noticed the grass was starting to die off, and experts brought in by the Council later confirmed that a “readily available” weedkiller was to blame.

Although there was no clear evidence to indicate whether the damage had resulted from vandalism or mismanagement by the company responsible for the ground’s maintenance, Councillors concluded that “on balance of probability, the original damage to the cricket wickets was contractor error”.

The Council terminated its contract with Classic Landscapes, the firm that had previously been in charge of maintenance, and introduced a new regime in which the work is shared between another sportsground maintenance company and Bradley Stoke Cricket Club, with the latter being paid £8/man hour with a ceiling of £2,600 for the period April to August.

However, last month’s meeting of BSTC’s Finance Committee was told that due to “extreme weather conditions and the continual rectification works”, maintenance of the square had to be extended into November 2012 and would also be required from January to March 2013, costing the taxpayer a further £2,912.

The amount is in addition to previous exceptional expenditure of around £15k, including £5,350 on emergency remedial works, the purchase of a heavy sit-on roller and a specialised mower at a one-off cost of £8,270 and a reduction of £1,520 in the rent to be charged to the cricket club for the 2013 season.

The Council has billed Classic Landscapes for the emergency remedial work carried out earlier this year but it is understood that payment has so far not been forthcoming.

Draft minutes of a confidential discussion at last month’s Finance Committee meeting (from which the public and press were excluded) state that Councillors “approved various instructions to solicitors” but added that “in light of the timing of legal letters and other confidential instructions, it is not appropriate for the information to be made public at this moment in time”.

Cricket match in progress on an artificial wicket at Baileys Court, Bradley Stoke.

Photo 1: Signs warn of hazardous chemicals on the cricket square (archive image).

Photo 2: Match in progress on the artificial wicket at Baileys Court during 2012.

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  1. An epic error… Please don’t spend anymore tax payer money, especially not to line solicitors pockets. Do people still play cricket these days? Subs should go up for players and the reduction in rent retracted, the council should try to get the money back from those that will benefit from playing on it in the end.

  2. Hugo is right, why should everyone pay for something that can only be used by a tiny minority of the community.

    Was the cricket club not insured against this sort of event happening?

  3. No point blaming innocent cricket players for the mistake of Classic Landscapes. They should be paying every penny. Ignore the shill posts here trying to divert responsibility. Hugo and his co-workers should pay up. Just how many times are tax payers expected to bail out idiot companies?

  4. In response to previous points, anyone can join a cricket club, it’s not restricted. Also anyone can go along to watch or take advantage of the facilities such as the bar

  5. I don’t expect the tax payer to fund my hobbies and interest, why should we be expected to bail out the cricket club.

    SGC would immediately get their legal team on to me if I refuse to pay Council Tax, why aren’t they chasing the contractor and protecting tax payer money?

    Yet another occasion where we have to pay for inept decision making/bungling by those incapable of writing a decent contract.

  6. Anonemouse – if you had a contract with the council and paid them to provide certain things you would expect them to do so though surely? That is all the club are doing

  7. The pitch is not owned by the cricket club, but is a council pitch. It’s not the cricket club’s problem to fund the repairs, unless they did it themselves. The contractor should be chased if it was actually their negligence, surely.

    The cricket club do a lot of good for the community with several youth teams, plus the adult teams. Any one is free to join and use the facilities, as PC correctly says.

    Yes, I’m an ex-member of the club but having moved away no longer play there.

    Hugo – They probably don’t in Cuba.

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