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Caerphilly Politics South Wales

Blackwood Town Cricket Club’s outdoor drinking area plan opposed by neighbours

Blackwood Town Cricket Club (Pic: CCBC)

BLACKWOOD Town Cricket Club has launched a contentious bid to extend its outdoor drinking area.

Several neighbours have objected, fearing it will lead to bad behaviour at the boundary with their properties – and said there had been problems previously.

The cricket club’s leadership acknowledged it needed to keep its house in order, but said Blackwood Town played an important role in the community and extending the outdoor area would allow its members to better enjoy matches.

At a meeting of Caerphilly Council’s licensing sub-committee on Friday April 12, both the club and local residents were sympathetic to each other’s positions, but were unable to agree on the size of the new pitchside area for drinkers.

During the discussions, club representative Phil Williams twice offered to reduce the area covered by the original proposal, prompting a council officer to suggest the cricket club needed to be “very clear… what their forward plans are”.

At one stage, the committee members considered adjourning the meeting so the council could get a better understanding of the changing proposals.

Mr Williams told the meeting the club decided after the pandemic to develop the ground’s facilities as part of a five-year business plan.

But in a council report, officers suggested it was “possible that this application has been prompted as a result of a complaint from a local resident, in respect of alleged patron noise and behaviour in August 2023”. 

“It was identified, during a licensing officer visit, that the club appeared to be utilising an outdoor area for the purpose of the supply of alcohol outside of the area permitted by the existing club premises certificate,” the officers said in their report.

Neighbour Kevin Courcoux, speaking on behalf of residents who objected to the club’s plans for a larger outdoor drinking area, said he was “supportive of the cricket club” and its community role, but “unfortunately we have had issues”.

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He said litter problems affecting neighbours’ gardens were “on balance” linked to the club, adding that he had installed “privacy screens” to shield his home from view.

Mr Williams admitted people “circulate the boundary” when watching matches but rejected the notion empty booze cans discarded in the area had come from the club.

He also refuted reports of people allegedly urinating around the ground and said anyone doing so “will be ejected from the club – that’s totally unacceptable”.

Blackwood Town has already agreed to conditions proposed by the council and backed by Gwent Police, that any expanded outdoor drinking area will only be open between April 1 and September 30 each year, and until 10pm during that season.

Mr Williams told the committee “we want to work very much with neighbours”.

But he argued the drinking area proposed by the council should also include an area covering a “president’s bench” to the ground’s scoring box.

The committee will announce its decision within five working days.