Luton Allstars have criticised the council over plans to demolish the Brache Sparta Club House, where they train and play matches.
The grassroots football club, run by volunteers, have been using the facilities at Foxdell Recreational Ground, on Dallow Road, has 32 teams at the club, and was hoping to get the lease from Luton Council once the previous tenant gave back the keys.
Francis Edubatey, club chairman, said: “Someone had the lease for the Brache and we were using it to train, we have about 32 teams, including girls teams, over 300 children and we said to the council, give us the lease and let us look after the facility, as the guy was not looking after it properly.
“We are getting more young people away from other vices and into coaching, assisting and participating in sports. We are aspiring young people to get involved and become role models.
“The club have never been consulted when they decided to demolish the club house.
“The council said to us they would need to get the lease off him and then give it to us, it can not be transferred over.
“They took the lease off him, went into the building and then said it is condemned.
“We said put the lease in our name and we will go and get the funding from a number of good cause organisations to get the facilities in a working order to use and they said it will cost £100k. We had builders look at it and they said it would not cost anywhere near that amount.
“They are trying to demolish the building, without even trying to find an alternative facility for us.
“We are trying to help the children in Luton by giving them a place to play football and Luton council are not supporting that. We believe they have gone back on their word by not giving us the lease for the Brache.
“If it is demolished it will leave almost 300 children without a football home, nowhere to play.
“What we would like to ask the council is “should we not be the pride of the town?”, why has the council never helped and supported us but rather apposed us demonstrated by the issue with the Brache Sparta club house.
“While clubs in and around Bedfordshire like Flitwick FC, Ampthil FC, Shefford FC, Afc Dunstable, have state of the art facilities yet Luton Allstars FC have not even one toilet to use.”
Luton Allstars, which was formed in 2013 by four people, recently held a demonstration to raise awareness about the lack of basic facilities available to the youth football teams in Luton.
A spokesman for Luton Council said: “When the previous tenant handed the pavilion back to the council in 2018, stakeholders were consulted on its future and Luton Allstars’ management enquired if the club could take it over.
“Sadly, the building was found to be in an unsafe state for use and beyond economic repair. Given its treacherous condition the council’s Executive approved its demolition in a report presented in February 2019.
“We recognise the fantastic work Luton Allstars and countless other groups do to encourage young people’s participation in sport across the town and wish to assure them that while this decision may be disappointing, the council is pleased they are able to continue to use not only the pitches at Foxdell Recreation Ground, but others around the town.
“We remain ready to advise and assist local groups as they seek to develop and provide valuable resources to the community.”