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Labour Isle of Wight has expressed its dismay and disappointment in the way that the Island Free school is trying to extract `exorbitant fees’ from local sports teams for the privilege of using the Rew Valley Sports complex and playing fields for training purposes.

Chair of the Ventnor Branch, Stewart Blackmore, has spoken about the situation.

He has this week said:

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“In early discussions with the Head Teacher of the Free School assurances were given, in response to Councillors’ concerns, that the Free School would place the highest priority in giving access to the Community and local sports clubs and that, should the Free School be given responsibility for the management of the Sports Complex and adjacent green spaces, then they would guarantee community access. There was no mention then that access would come at a price and, in the case of the local youth football club, an exorbitantly high price.”

Fortunately, Ventnor Rugby Football Club and its management committee are community spirited and have offered free access to its training pitch including, if needed, free access to floodlighting. This means that training after school on dark winter nights now becomes a reality.

Island Labour has welcomed this initiative from the local rugby club, in stark contrast to what it calls the ‘mean spirited’ attempts of the Island Free School to take money from the volunteers of local sports teams.

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