Bid to tackle Polish park drinkers shown the red card

AN APPLICATION to spend almost £7,000 on football coaching for a group of Polish men who hang around a park drinking has been refused.
Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) believes that creating a football team would be the best way to deal with the men who spend all day in the summer drinking, urinating and littering at The Hollows in Daventry.

NCC area based co-ordinator Graham Ward had hoped the plan would reduce tension between the Polish park users and other residents, reduce binge drinking, cut down on litter and stop drink-driving.

But yesterday (Wednesday) Daventry District and South Northamptonshire Community Safety Partnership refused the application, which had requested £6,700 to pay for coaching and equipment for the 31-week project.

Mr Ward said: “I’m disappointed the plans were rejected. I’m not sure at the moment whether I’ll put in another application, I’ll have to go away and have a look at it.”

Mr Ward’s original application to the community safety partnership said: “The pattern appears to show a problem starting in the early days of the warm weather and this continues on until the cold weather starts.

“The main nuisance is a group of Polish males who are arriving down at the area around 9am and drinking large amounts of alcohol for the rest of the day.

“Recent evidence suggests that they are arriving by car with alcohol and then leaving by car much later in the day. This group of people are responsible for urinating up against the fences in the park and creating large amounts of litter.”

NCC was planning to arrange the football sessions once or twice a week before entering the team into a local league.

However, the council said police would have had to attend the first few training sessions to ensure the safety of coaching staff.

Inspector Julia Potts, Daventry sector commander, said: “We have a growing community of non-English speaking people that we have to engage with further and I feel this was a positive idea which I support.

“It would have given them something different to do and make proper use of the park. If we can sort out the facilities at the park it might lead to us getting more football sessions on the field for other junior and adult teams as well.”

Chris Dawes, who lives in South Place, has long had problems with people drinking on The Hollows as his house backs onto the playing fields.

He said: “I’m not sure if a football team is the answer, they are not kids. There are loads of other football teams they can join if they want to play so why should we create one for them?

“The problem I’ve got is they are drinking, using my fence as a toilet and leaving smashed bottles in my garden.

“Why can’t The Hollows just be turned into a nice park for families and children? It’s a nice open space and doesn’t need to be a football field.”

A spokesman for NCC said: “By working in partnership to encourage people to use the park for recreation purposes including football it was hoped that it can again become a hub for the local community.”

National Front 2010

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