Controversial petanque park plan will ‘absolutely not’ be reversed

Cllr Chris Mullins

Cllr Chris Mullins

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A controversial plan to create a petanque pitch in Memorial Gardens will not be reversed.

Concerns over the £2,000 borough council scheme were first voiced on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/crawley.observer) and were picked up by national media.

Crawley MP Henry Smith posted a photo of a Daily Mail article about the pitch on Twitter and said the council had made the town a national laughing stock.

Cllr Brenda Burgess (Con, Three Bridges) said the serenity of the park would be destroyed by the pitch.

She added: “I am also concerned that this beautiful area will be spoiled to such an extent that Crawley Memorial Gardens loses its award for excellence from Britain in Bloom.”

She asked why townspeople had not been consulted about the bid.

Jan Large on our Facebook page said: “Totally stupid thing to have, it will be vandalised in a matter of days and it’s not needed. Waste of taxpayers’ money!”

Andy Clark said the plan was ‘ridiculous’ and called for the pitch to be made in another Crawley park.

Petanque enthusiast Cllr Chris Mullins (Lab, Gossops Green) said ‘absolutely not’ when asked if he would reverse the decision.

He said petanque was ‘massive’ in the UK and townspeople would grow to like it.

Cllr Mullins, cabinet member for Wellbeing, said: “This is not something bad that I’m trying to introduce - it’s something common that we haven’t got in Crawley.

“When people start to enjoy it they continue to do it so it will grow - but this is a trial, an introduction pitch in the centre of the town.”

He played down the objections to the plans to create the 15m by 4m gravel pitch near the County Mall end of the Heroes Walk.

He said: “You’re always going to get this.’

He said he could find lots of people to make supportive comments.

He added: “At the end of the day it’s much ado about nothing.”

Cllr Mullins said the suggested consultation would have cost £5,000 and made no ‘economic sense’.

He said: “Councillors have all had a chance to put their opinions in and it’s a handful of Tories who have objected to it and they are whipping up their friends in the community about it.

“It’s unnecessary and it’s out of hand I just cannot for the life of me understand where they are coming from.”

No date had been set for when the pitch would be made.

Cllr Mullins said works had been delayed by the weather. He added: “I didn’t think it was an issue that was at all controversial.”

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