ANGRY Cradley Town chairman Trevor Thomas has slammed Dudley Council - accusing the authority of trying to block proposals for a multi-million pound sports development.

Mr Thomas has drawn up plans to turn the Beeches View Avenue site – most of which is currently wasteland – into a state-of-the-art youth training facility for community use.

The first few phases include creating small sided pitches for different age groups, a children’s playground and overflow car parking, which would be made available for next-door neighbours Caslon Primary Community School.

But despite Mr Thomas' claims, council bosses insist that “no firm decision” has yet been made on the proposals.

The chairman, however, said he is stuck in a battle with land owners Dudley Council over getting an extension to his lease, which currently runs on a year-to-year basis.

Mr Thomas, who has applied for a community asset transfer regarding the site, told the News: “I have been at this club for 25 years and never once have I asked Dudley Council for a single penny and I’m not asking them for any money now – just their support.

“I don’t know if the council have an issue with me, with the club, with the fact that Cradley isn’t a fashionable area, or if they are hoping we will go away so the land could be used for housing, but this development is something that is desperately needed for the area and especially the local kids.

“The council wasted £200,000 putting in an ‘indestructible’ playground and other things on this land which were burnt to a crisp within six months, yet they seem intent on not helping something that would actually benefit the community.”

Halesowen News:

Mr Thomas next to one of the burnt out logs which were installed on the Beeches View site as part of a Dudley Council development.

Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member for planning and economic development, said: “We can confirm we have received an application from Mr Thomas “The council is currently in discussions with him, and those discussions are still ongoing.”

Further developments to the site – which are all part of Mr Thomas’ eight phase, £4m plans – would see the a new club house built, as well as upgrading the club’s current stands and improving the main pitch to a 4G playing surface.

Halesowen News:

Mr Thomas added: “I’m 60 in four years and I’ve given so much of my time and my life to this club that it’s got to the point where I am ready to step away, but I want to leave a legacy.

“This development is not about me though, it’s all about the young people of Cradley and Dudley borough and giving them somewhere that they can go to develop their skills and have fun.

“Our youth set up is one of the best in the area – at one stage we had over 28 teams throughout the different age groups – and we have hundreds of kids on our books who train week in, week out with us.

“But because we have so many teams, we have to travel into Sandwell to train – paying £5,500 a month to their council to use their facilities – as there is nowhere in Dudley like what we’re proposing that is big enough to cope.

“To me it’s crazy, and I don’t understand why the council aren’t biting my hand off.”