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A COUNCILLOR has spoken of his "disgust" after his colleagues voted to charge a youth project £208 to play football on the Morgan Recreation Ground in Crowthorne.

The "shock" decision was made on Tuesday of last week when Crowthorne parish councillors gathered at the finance and general purposes committee.

The four-day football tournament is a joint project between Wokingham Youth Service and Bracknell Forest Youth Service and aims to encourage contact between young people.

The youth groups had hoped there would be no charge to use the green but now councillors have ruled it will cost £52 a day to go ahead.

Cllr John Wood, of Crowthorne Parish Council, was unable to attend the meeting but after hearing the news he said: "I am disgusted with the parish council.

"It's absolutely obscene that they are charging the youth service £52 a day to play football.

"I have almost given up on them."

The decision also angered Cllr Lars Swann, chairman of the committee, who has fought ardently for youth services in the past.

He said: "I am the chairman of that committee but I wasn't able to attend. I was shocked they would say such a thing.

"We don't charge the youth bus, so why should we charge the youth service £52 a day to play a tournament for four days in the summer? If I had been there I would have voted against it.

"I'm now trying to work something out so they don't have to pay it. I am hoping to arrange for the parish council to give them a grant as it is for educational purposes."

Maria Selway, area youth work development manager for Edgbarrow Youth and Community Centre in Crowthorne, said the project was very valuable as there is little for young people to do in the school holidays.

She said: "The responses from young people in Crowthorne has been big from boys and girls. It is important and we are trying to get them to meet up with young people from other areas.

"I think it is quite disgusting to charge us £52 a day because it's a recreational green for everyone to use. It's ridiculous.

I think it's something they really ought to support.

"This is going to cost us more than we what are paying for the coaches. We will seriously have to think where we can find the funding."

Cllr Bob Rand, who attended the meeting, said: "What we are charging, which was decided at the last finance and general purposes committee, is the standard charge for charities and local organisations."

A spokesman for Crowthorne Parish Council confirmed to the Times that the charge would be going ahead.


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