Friends’ first meet is told about ideas


BETTER drainage was a demand from the first public meeting of a new group formed to promote a Rose Green open space.

The need for improved maintenance of the ditch around part of Avisford Park recreation ground was highlighted at the session held by its Friends.

Residents spoke of the problems caused by the current ditch on the northern and western sides of the Arun District Council-owned site on Nyetimber Lane.

Keith Lintott’s home backs on to the ditch. He said: “We live under the threat of flooding all the time but with a ditch which is bone dry for the sake of proper drainage and maintenance.

“It does not take a brain scientist to go out and get it to work.”

Work to clear the ditch took place in the winter after Aldwick Parish Council was backed by West Sussex and Arun councils for the work.

Aldwick parish councillor Brian Dodd said: “Avisford Park slopes to the road. There used to be a ditch across it but that was filled in.”

The drainage could be improved by raising the ground level along its Nyetimber Lane frontage to enable the water table to fall below the surface again.

John Stride, the chief executive of leisure operator Inspire Leisure, said he would welcome any drainage work taking place to improve the condition of the ground’s three football pitches.

“An awful lot of football matches have been cancelled between November and February, not necessarily because there has been a lot of rain. But because of the lack of drainage at the ground over the years.

“There’s a move away from grass to artificial pitches.

“That’s not because people want to switch.

“But because they are going three months without a single game of football.”

The ditch across the recreation ground had been filled in after it interfered with a plan, since scrapped, to create a cricket wicket, he said.

Friends’ chairman Jan Malpas said the group of volunteers could raise the concerns but would be unable to act on them directly.

She told the meeting at Aldwick Parish Council’s offices last Wednesday the Friends had been formed in January because of the success of the Friends of West Park.

“Avisford Park is such a community park. It’s just lovely and we want to improve it,” she said.

Ways in which the Friends could benefit the site included regular litter picks and arranging refreshments