BREAKING: Haverhill Borough set to be relegated after ground share proposal rejected
Haverhill Borough are set to be demoted from the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division at the end of the season regardless of their finishing position, it has been announced.
It is the final outcome of the ground grading saga that had seen Borough request a ground share with Haverhill Rovers, on the grass pitch, for next season - as a solution to continue to play at this level next season with their 3G home deemed below the necessary standard for Step 5 football.
The decision had been delegated by the FA to the HCSA board earlier this month, with the board meeting last night to consider the request and evidence provided by Borough. Facility manager Peter Betts said before the meeting that there were concerns over the logistics and finances of the move, which the board needed to see solutions to.
But they have now revealed that the request was rejected, leaving Borough with no alternatives to explore in their bid to stay in the Thurlow Nunn top flight.
A HCSA statement, sent exclusively to the Echo, said: "It is well known that the main stadium grass pitch at The New Croft needs improvement, so the HCSA have sourced independent advice from the Institute of Groundsmanship.
"Their report received this week identified that the pitch would not cope with extra usage and the need to spend many thousands of pounds on the pitch, money which would need to be spent before and during the season, and which neither HCSA or Haverhill Borough can afford.
"The HCSA currently provide facilities for over 55 local teams, a hugely important aspect of our community involvement.
"To accommodate Haverhill Borough’s request to use the main stadium grass pitch it would mean having to move a current main grass pitch user to the 3G pitch which is already at capacity between 5-9pm on weekdays, so this is not practicable.
"The HCSA have worked extremely hard to provide all its users a community 3G and then the stadium improvements that were requested by Haverhill Borough FC back in 2014/15 to ensure we could satisfy their needs to remain participating at Step 6.
"At present it is not practicable to consider such improvements that could ultimately disrupt youth and community provision that we currently provide at The New Croft.
"As a result, the HCSA board last night decided that we were unable to agree to Haverhill Borough FC request.
"However, the HCSA wish to work closely with Haverhill Borough FC to access the funding necessary to gain a second 3G pitch, together with ground improvements and look forward to receiving detailed proposals including development, business and football strategies from Haverhill Borough FC in the future."
Borough chairman Dave Hardwick has said the club are 'extremely disappointed' by the outcome.
He said: "As a club we are extremely disappointed, and we are taking the time to think about it before we make a full and measured statement in the coming days."
He said it would likely be Saturday when the club were ready to respond.