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Published: 19:19, 11 February 2020
| Updated: 19:25, 11 February 2020
A parish council accused of nepotism has hit back at a football club, saying it has been the victim of bullying.
Kings Hill FC has been training at the the local Sports Park on Beacon Avenue since the club was established in 2013.
The club has more than 500 players and has training booked four nights a week.
Kings Hill residents, who pay toward the sports ground in their parish council tax precept, are now up in arms the club faces losing its Wednesday night booking to an out of town club.
National League South outfit Ebbsfleet United used to train at the facility, but since it left in 2018, the parish council has struggled to find new ways of raising money from the grounds.
Nina Henley's sons play for the club. She said:: "This means for Kings Hill FC their 17 teams and 189 children that currently train on a Wednesday are now unable to do so. It also means that up to four Kings Hill teams are sharing one pitch at the weekend. This is just not feasible.
"There is no legitimate reason for the Sports Park under direction of the Parish Council Clerk to do this. There is no financial gain as everyone pays the same hire cost now. Kings Hill Teams and children will pay the price as the club will inevitably not be able to accommodate all the teams they currently do."
Mrs Henley and others are accusing the council of nepotism by allowing another club to use the public facility for training, while also using some weekend pitches.
The club, which has a total of 48 teams, was also privy to a 10% discount, which it can no longer use.
Today Kings Hill Parish Council has written a lengthy statement, defending its actions and saying it has been the victim of bullying.
Part of the statement reads: "It is [the club's] success and growth that is part of the issue. The Football Club need more and more pitches, more and more training slots as the number of teams grow.
"Unfortunately, this growth has swamped the limited facilities that exist at the Sports Park and, in combination with the priority booking system, has resulted in pushing out other sporting endeavours and other football clubs.
"The Football Club state that they represent Kings Hill residents, and they do, but only about 20% of them. The Parish Council is trying to provide services to the 100%. The assertion by Kings Hill Football Club that their members are all Kings Hill residents is only partially true. More and more, the Football Club scout for better players from farther afield and, in turn, this pushes out the lesser abled young players to other local clubs."
The council says it is working with the club so it can ensure all its teams have a training slot, albeit on different evenings.
More by this authorLuke May