Calls for disabled bay outside Fareham Town Football Club rebuffed by council as owner says grand plans are on the way

VOLUNTEERS at a community football club are calling for better disabled parking to be brought in.

By Kimberley Barber
Thursday, 9th September 2021, 4:55 am
Jim Finnegan of Fareham Town FC wants a disabled bay put in near the club
Jim Finnegan of Fareham Town FC wants a disabled bay put in near the club

Jim Finnegan, the club’s volunteer stadium manager, wants to see a designated bay installed outside the club’s gates, so that people can better access the ground on match days.

However, Fareham Borough Council, which owns the land and road at Palmerston Drive, said that it could not bring in more measures – as there are adequate facilities nearby.

And even the football club's owner Nick Ralls said he would not back a motion to change the current situation, as there are grand plans in the making for the whole site to be redeveloped.

Fareham Town FC, Fareham

Jim said he wanted to see action now, as the club is growing in popularity and parking is becoming increasingly difficult, especially as part of the nearby car park is being used as a Covid test centre.

He said: ‘Everybody should have the right to be able to watch the football. It should an inclusive ground.

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‘Not every disability is visible and not everybody can be dropped off on match days.

‘With the current situation of cars parking on the pavement and double yellow lines, there’s nowhere close enough.

‘I would like the council to simply mark out a designated bay along the road – or look at knocking down the nearby derelict toilet block and create some spaces there.’

Council officers and council leader Sean Woodward have visited the site and met Jim, but they said that they would not be taking any more action.

Cllr Woodward said there are bays in the nearby car park by the Rainbow Centre, and said that people with blue badges are entitled to park on double yellow lines, but this would require some of the supporters who currently park there to pay attention to the markings.

He said: ‘We painted the double yellow lines along that road at the request of the club a few years ago and there is a large car park nearby. We have looked at this very closely but it is not something we will be progressing at this stage.’

He also added that the disused toilet block was currently let to the rugby club, which uses it as storage, so it would not be able to demolish it while it has tenants.

Club owner and chairman Nick, who bought the club more than 15 years ago, said that he did not back the calls for more council action, and said that the council had been very supportive of the club and its plans for the future.

He said that grand plans were in the making for the site to be upgraded and to improve the club and its facilities, which would be revealed later this year.

He said: ‘We have got a lovely scheme coming. There is no point doing anything now as it’s not necessary.’