A FEW bags of rubbish have kicked off a money headache for Padiham Football Club.
For years club volunteers carefully recycled bottles and cans and used nearby bins, with neighbours’ consent, for what could not be re-used.
But now the club, which is a living war memorial, has been told it will have to do an audit trail of every piece of rubbish, and will be expected to employ a waste contractor as it is classed as a business. The club has between three and six bags of rubbish a fortnight. If it does not comply with the rules it could face £300 fines and be dragged before the courts.
The club was created after the Second World War as a memorial to the fallen and is the only one of its kind in the country. It is run by volunteers who say it is for the benefit of the community and is not a business.
Club secretary Alan Smith said: “We are not law-breakers, and there will be no question of court action. If we are treated as a business and have to pay so be it, but it is not a cost we have budgeted for and all it will mean in the long term is that the club will not be able to do as much as we do for the community.
“We are not having a go at Burnley Council or its employees who are the enforcement officers. They have a job to do, but surely there must be a bit of leeway. The club is run by people who give freely of their own time and money, and we already all pay council tax as individuals. In the last 12 years the club has spent £500,000 on improvements. Not many other organisations spend money on improving property owned by Burnley Council.
“When Burnley took over Padiham Urban District Council it became part of its estates portfolio and we lease it back from them and look after it.
“All we are asking for is a bit of help. The things we do for the community far outweigh the cost of taking a few bags of rubbish away.”
John Burgoyne, Enforcement Officer for Burnley Council, said: “A complaint was made to us about black bags of waste being left on the roadside in West Street, Padiham and we began inquiries to the origin of this waste.
“As a result we visited Padiham Football club and met Mr Smith to discuss their waste disposal. Under the Environmental Protection Act commercial/trade waste is defined as waste from a premises used for a trade or business or for the purposes of sport, recreation or entertainment, and producers of this waste have a duty to ensure it is disposed of legally.
“We have discussed this responsibility with Mr Smith, as Padiham Football Club is not a domestic property, therefore should not be using our domestic refuse collection service.”