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New home for Crawley and Maidenbower Panthers FC

Crawley and Maidenbower Panthers FC now have a place to call home after taking on the lease for Maidenbower Playing Fields for the football season.

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The club was formed in July 2018 following the merger of two long-established local clubs – Maidenbower United FC and Crawley Panthers FC – with a mission to provide opportunities for everybody to play and learn football in the local community.

Their new home at Maidenbower Playing Fields is being leased to see if it works well for the club for this season and will now be home to more than 20 teams that will be playing the majority of their home matches here for the next year.

In previous years, the club could only play a small proportion of their games at their “home ground” because they didn’t have access to smaller pitches for the younger children but now the club is delighted they have a place to call home for this season.

In reaching an agreement with Crawley Borough Council, the club will have six new pitches suitable from under six teams and up, as well as on-site storage facilities. Crawley Borough Council’s Neighbourhood Services Team will be taking care of the Panthers’ new home by maintaining the pitches for the team as well as the football club agreeing to help take on many aspects of day-to-day maintenance.

Adam Swart, Chairman of Crawley and Maidenbower Panthers FC, said:

“This is a very proud moment for the football club and for the Maidenbower community as a whole. To be able to declare Maidenbower Park as our official home has been a dream of ours for many years.

“Establishing a more permanent home base here will allow us to grow our provision of grassroots football even further, benefiting all children in the Maidenbower and Pound Hill area. With teams playing from age six to 18 and at adult level, as well as dedicated girls’ teams, we can now truly deliver on our mission to offer opportunities for everyone to play football.”

Councillor Chris Mullins, Cabinet member for Wellbeing, said:

“This is great news for a local club which offers such a fun and supportive sporting experience to children of all ages and adults too.

“This new home is rewarding for the football club but also for the whole of the town because it is an opportunity for the community to come together. I hope this new home brings Crawley and Maidenbower Panthers Football Club the success they deserve.”

For more information on Crawley and Maidenbower Panthers FC visit cmpanthersfc.com

Community

Crawley library in danger of losing opening hours as County Council choose money saving over services

Another public consultation and this time it is about reducing opening hours for the library.

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Crawley library users are being asked to share their thoughts on proposed budget savings which would see a reduction in opening hours at Crawley Library.

The consultation running from 9 October to 13 November 2019 is, according to the council, aimed to help inform the decision due to be taken by West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member, Jacquie Russell, in November. 

The suggested savings include for Crawley to:

Reduce the evening opening hours in the library by one hour (from 7pm to 6pm) from April 2020.

This change, along with the same reduction in hours at three other Sussex libraries along with the ceasing of the mobile library service would apparently result in a total year on year saving of £175,000.

Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Fire and Rescue and Communities, said:

“Since becoming cabinet member, I have often been asked about what will happen to libraries across the county. As I have said before, we need to look at doing things in a more affordable way, but ultimately my aim is to preserve the core of the library service.

“With the suggested savings being proposed, we hope that the other services we have on offer at libraries across West Sussex will diminish any negative impact to users. 

“However, I still want to hear the thoughts of our library users by way of this consultation, especially those who are specifically affected by the proposed budget savings, as this will help to shape and inform my decision in November.”

But Crawley residents will be all too wary of consultations and how they can be just lip service and completely ignored as recently happened with the consulation over the Post Office move into County Mall.

Crawley MP Henry Smith said:

“When West Sussex County Council Leader over a decade ago, I was pleased to procure and open the new Crawley Library, which ever since has been an important community resource. I would encourage all who care about our library to engage with the Council’s consultation and call for evening opening hours not to be reduced.”

You have until 13 November 2019 to have your say.

To find out more and fill in the consultation, visit haveyoursay.westsussex.gov.uk/libraries/libraryoffer/

CN24 approached Jacquie Russell for a guarantee that if the results of the consultation came back that there was a majority against the reduction in hours that she would keep the library open till 7. A response has not yet been received.

But West Sussex County Council did respond saying:

“This is a live consultation and we encourage residents to have their say before the deadline of 13 November. After the consultation has closed, the responses will be taken into consideration before any decision is made.”

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