Tories weigh in on Crawley petanque row

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Crawley Tories have called for controversial plans for a petanque pitch in Memorial Gardens to be reviewed.

Cllr Beryl MeCrow (Con, Pound Hill and South) said there was a lack of evidence of demand for the French boules game in town.

The borough council’s opposition group urged Cllr Chris Mullins, cabinet member for Wellbeing, to put the plans for the pitch on the County Mall end of the Heroes Walk on hold.

It called for a review into the demand for the pitch and alternative sites for it to be carried out following a meeting on Tuesday (March 15).

Cllr MeCrow, shadow cabinet member for Wellbeing, said: “We are not opposed to this pastime but we have not been shown any evidence that there is a demand for pétanque in Crawley.

“All we know is that Cllr Mullins likes to play the game and is hoping other people will take it up.

“This could be a white elephant that would spoil a beautiful and tranquil Memorial Gardens.”

Cllr Brenda Burgess (Con, Three Bridges) added: “The whole way this has been handled has been shambolic and is part of a wider problem of a ‘closed-shop town hall’.

“We were just told it was happening and that there would be no discussion about it. We want this put on hold before the Memorial Gardens are dug up and spoiled. We want to see if there are more suitable locations such as Goffs Park or Southgate Playing Fields. Why won’t Cllr Mullins consider this?”

Cllr Mullins has said a Crawley-wide consultation on the bid would have cost £5,000 and made no ‘economic sense’.

It was intended to be a trial which would cost little to be returned to grass if it were found to be unpopular.

He said: “Councillors have all had a chance to put their opinions in and it’s a handful of Tories who have objected to it and they are whipping up their friends in the community about it.

“It’s unnecessary and it’s out of hand I just cannot for the life of me understand where they are coming from.”

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