With the future of Eastwood Town FC looking bleak, uncertainty now surrounds that of the club’s Coronation Park headquarters after the ground’s safety certificate was withdrawn by Nottinghamshire County Council.
In a statement released this week, the council say that spectators cannot now be admitted to the east and west stands at Coronation Park.
The news comes after the Badgers resigned from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League last week, and while the next stage in their ongoing demise is unclear, the issues surrounding the ground safety are another hammer blow.
The council statement said: “Nottinghamshire County Council has withdrawn the general safety certificate for Eastwood Town Football Club’s Coronation Park ground following the surrendering of the certificate.
“The safety certificate holder has surrendered the certificate and its withdrawal means that spectators may not be admitted to the East and West stands in the ground on Chewton Street.
“The Council has a duty to issue a safety certificate for covered stands which have a capacity of 500 or more at sports grounds in Nottinghamshire.
“The certificate contains conditions which the club must comply with to protect the safety of spectators attending the ground.”
Broxtowe Borough Council owns the ground and padlocked the premises in February due to issues surrounding rent and business rate arrears.
Cllr Glynn Gilfoyle, chair of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Community Safety Committee, said: “We have no choice but to withdraw the safety certificate from Eastwood FC’s ground as no one else has so far offered to take on the responsibility of being the new certificate holder.
“We will be happy to work with anyone who is interested in taking up the role so we are able to issue a new certificate for future games at the ground.”
The club’s former safety officer, Ron Storer, told the Advertiser: “There was a safety certificate in place for the 2013/14 season but I was advised by Nottinghamshire County Council to surrender the certificate on February 24 as I had no control over or responsibility for Coronation Park.
“Had it not been surrendered I would be responsible for anything that occurred within the grounds.
“With the state of the ground deteriorating I was not prepared to accept responsibility.
“Before a new safety certificate can be issued it is my belief that considerable works must be undertaken.”
Mr Storer confirmed that whilst Eastwood Town were active at Coronation Park, the ground was safe for use.
He added: “Throughout my tenure as safety officer there has been a certificate issued every season by Nottinghamshire County Council’s emergency planning department, which has responsibility for every football ground with regulated stands in Nottinghamshire.
“Every July there has been a safety audit with the SAG group and the county council to ascertain if the ground is safe for spectators and also checking the club’s ability to manage the ground safely.
“Every season began with a safety certificate being issued. There were also regular visits to check on how things were going and to inspect the ground and safety systems that were in place for the safety of spectators at Coronation Park.”
As reported in last week’s Advertiser, Broxtowe Borough Council denied rumours that the facility was set to be condemned, instead stating that they were merely not in possession of a current safety certificate but acknowledging one was likely to exist somewhere in the locked up ground.
Broxtowe Borough Council leader Milan Radulovic has previously stated his desire to see the premises remain as a community sporting facility.
But with the safety certificate now having been withdrawn, no further public events can take place at the ground until any necessary work is done and a new certificate is issued.