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Residents complain after three U's players train during 'off day'
2:00pm Friday 13th September 2013 in News
COLCHESTER United manager Joe Dunne has hit out at Tiptree residents who complained after three injured players completed a light workout on the Florence Park pitch.
The U’s boss admitted Gavin Massey, Freddie Sears and Brian Wilson, who are recovering from injuries, used the Grange Road grass pitch on Wednesday, a day which planning rules state the pitch should not be used.
But the Irishman claimed three professional players jogging on the pitch should not attract complaints.
He said: “We’ve had complaints from the residents about two or three of my injured players training on the training pitch.
“Gavin Massey, Freddie Sears and Brian Wilson did about 15 minutes work on one of the grass pitches but we had complaints.
“That is what we’re up against.”
Dunne added because of the planning rules, the first team had trained on astroturf at Thurstable School on Wednesday while the injured trio completed a light workout at Florence Park as they recover from niggling injuries.
The latest in the series of complaints comes after U’s chairman Robbie Cowling warned he would pull out of the club if the community continued to oppose the club’s plans to nurture underage talent or not attend home games at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
Ashley Byrne, a residents’ spokesman, said while he fundamentally agreed with the U’s boss, he questioned how often planning conditions could be breached.
“While I understand the point being made, in principle the planning conditions are being breached.
“How many times must planning conditions be breached before they simply become guidelines - then it becomes a free for all.”
He added: “It is a matter for Colchester Council and whether it takes enforcement action on it.
“My feeling is they wouldn’t for that, nor would I expect them to.
“Our main concern is the creeping [over existing planning conditions] and Colchester United has already shown on a number of occasions it is not scared of creeping.”
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