FEARS over the future of Barnt Green Cricket Club have been allayed after developers building homes near its ground announced they would pay for nets so the sport could continue to be played there.
The Standard reported back in September how the close proximity of the properties off Fiery Hill Road – some 30metres away from the Douglas Ground – meant nets needed to be put up to prevent balls from going astray on match days and damaging the homes or injuring local residents.
CALA Homes, the company behind the Foxhills development, had offered £20,000 towards the cost of the nets but the club said they would cost in excess of £60,000 and that was money it just did not have to spend.
Now CALA Homes has agreed to fund new safety nets at the cricket club.
The developers said it entered into talks with the club after, it was claimed, planning permission was granted without proper provision for nets being included.
CALA Homes will fund new 14-metre-high nets to the eastern and southern boundaries of the ground and contribute to their future maintenance. The company will also manage the installation of the nets which will be put up in the coming weeks, ahead of the new cricket season starting in April.
Colin Banton, the Barnt Green Cricket Club chairman, welcomed a ‘satisfactory agreement’ being reached with CALA Homes.
“Installation of safety netting is of mutual benefit to both CALA and the cricket club.
“We are grateful CALA has ultimately listened to our concerns and appreciated that the cricket club is not in a financial position to afford to install the netting.
“Cricket has been played on the Douglas Ground since the 1970s and we can now look forward to many more seasons of cricket being played at this ground alongside the new CALA houses.”
Steve Hird, managing director of CALA Homes (Midlands), said: “We have actively engaged with the cricket club, the parish council and Bromsgrove District Council since this issue was first raised and have always been committed to reaching a successful resolution.
“This is a significant investment for CALA which reflects our commitment to work in partnership with the local communities in which we build.”