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South Milford football - Parish Council statement - June 2023

Following recent social media activity, the Parish Council would like to provide some context around the use of the football pitch at Mill Lane.


In 2013 a 99 year lease was agreed between South Milford Parish Council and the trustees of Swan Croft Sports Association, for the Parish Council owned land on the south side of Mill Lane.


The lease delegates management of that land to a Swan Croft Executive Committee, one member of which must be a serving South Milford Parish Councillor.


Swan Croft Sports Association's incumbent football club is SMAFC. Internal disputes in recent years between individuals involved in SMAFC and the various football teams which played under this affiliation (covering different age groups) has led to teams leaving SMAFC.


Some of these teams now play under a different affiliation, and play their football outside South Milford. Currently only a small number of children from our village use the football pitch at Mill Lane - those who are part of the one age group team that remains part of SMAFC.


The Parish Council has not been a party to these disputes other than being informed of them after the event. For the last year, the Swan Croft Executive Committee (including Parish Councillors) have tried to negotiate arrangements to allow all South Milford football teams to use the facilities. In particular, South Milford Parish councilors have worked hard, arranging and attending many meetings and one-to-one discussions, to try and get the key players talking and encouraging them to find compromise.


The most recent activity was a straight talking meeting in early May, with key stakeholders from all the parties. The outcome of this was for the key people from SMAFC and the junior teams who have moved away to met again, and reach an acceptable solution as soon as possible. Whilst we were hopeful progress could be made, and are awaiting any formal updates following this meeting, social media activity and messages received by the Parish Council during May suggest that unfortunately compromise between the current organisations / individuals may not be possible.


The Parish Council is deeply disappointed with the current situation and will continue to explore options to resolve issues so that our children can play in their village. We remain committed to trying to get all South Milford junior teams playing in the village, and to ensure the football facility on Mill Lane is fully utilised as soon as possible.


Unfortunately, assuming compromise between the existing organisations / individuals proves impossible, reaching an acceptable resolution is unlikely to be quick nor simple. We understand and share your frustrations and thank you for your continued patience.


Finally, the Parish Council won't be getting into a discussion about this matter on social media, but we will share any significant updates here. In the meantime, if anyone has any questions about the matter, please email our clerk Ann Rowling (annrowling@gmail.com) with your questions and contact details.


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