‘Tearing our hair out’ over unusable Astral Park pitches

The Astral Park ground
The Astral Park ground

An 18-month wait for kick off on what was planned to be Leighton Buzzard’s new home of football does not look likely to end any time soon, the LBO can reveal.

Though adult football pitches close to the £1.5m Astral Park sports and community centre were expected to be ready for the start of the football season in September 2014, fixtures were cancelled as players began to report injuries after large cracks in the surface of the field appeared.

Works to fix the problem took place and the start of play was postponed for a month, but to this day the land known as ‘Astral Park plus’ remains unusable.

In the last month Central Beds Council, which owns the land, has advised Leighton-Linslade Town Council that further remedial works have been ineffective and that the drainage of the pitches remains an unsolved problem.

Town clerk Mark Saccoccio told the LBO: “We are working with CBC to address the issues and the remedial work that was going on had to stop before Christmas as it got too wet.

“That will start again in a couple of months time.

“It is causing undue delay because it remains the town council’s objective to get all adult football up there as soon as practicable.”

Work on Astral Park plus is being done to FA specifications, Mr Saccoccio added.

He said: “The hope is to get football there in a piecemeal approach, a few studs on it at a time.

“Lying water on the pitches remains an issue that needs to be addressed.

“We are tearing our hair out as we really want to see football there.”

When the pitches are rendered playable the land is expected to be transferred over into LLTC’s ownership.

Central Beds Councillor Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Community Services, said: “We want to see the pitches operating as soon as practicable and have committed resources to take that forward.”