DENBIGHSHIRE County Council (DCC) is to hold a meeting tomorrow (December 3) to discuss an area of playing fields in Prestatyn described by a regular visitor as 'dangerous' due to lack of maintenance.

The Morfas playing fields, on Lon Goed, is used by Prestatyn Athletic Junior Football Club for its matches, and club secretary Ian Price says the area has a ‘footfall of approximately 1,000 people a week’.

Mr Price said the council downgraded the pitches from playing fields to an open space, meaning it has less responsibility for its maintenance (including grass cutting and line marking), a decision he has urged it to reverse.

He said: “Our first point of contention was that, during lockdown, they downgraded the Morfas from playing fields to just an open space, which basically meant that they washed their hands of it.

“We’ve been mithering them for 12 years now to do something down there, and every single time, they’ve come back and said there’s no money.

“To have so many people using the facility, we need the pitches maintained because if not, people won’t want to play there.

“We came to the start of the season and asked if the pitches were going to be cut and marked, and this was when we found out it had been changed from playing fields to open space.

“Just being an open space means they just cut it now and again, not as regularly as they used to. The pitches used to get lined once every couple of weeks, and they’re not even getting lined now.

“Where the lines have been burned in in the past, they’re vanishing now, so people are complaining they can’t see the lines.

“They (the pitches) are getting dangerous. They (DCC) just run away from it all the time.”

Mr Price is also worried about the social benefits which some could lose out on should the area’s lack of maintenance deter them from visiting, as many more use the fields for activities beyond just playing football.

He added: “We have a footfall of approximately 1,000 people a week. The size of our club is 10 per cent of the school population of Prestatyn. There’s been football played on there since 1973.

“A good outcome would be for them to reinstate the pitches as playing fields. All we’ve ever wanted was for the council to maintain the pitches as they’re supposed to.

“Thousands of kids have gone through the club. We’ve got all these people out on Saturday and Sunday mornings who would normally not budge.

“Or, people use the other facilities around the Morfas; go for a walk or walk their dogs - we’re bringing people out into the fresh air, getting a bit of exercise.

“Then you’ve got all those kids getting loads of exercise, learning so many social skills from it as well. The whole thing is a community on its own.”

Councillor Paul Penlington, ward member for Prestatyn North on DCC, is helping support Mr Price and Prestatyn Athletic in their attempts to cause the council to enhance its level of maintenance of the fields.

He said: “I was contacted by Ian Price some months ago asking for my support in dealing with DCC over this issue.

“I am very concerned that DCC seem to be attempting to wash their hands of this and pull out of prior agreements with the football community; I have requested formation as to why that might be.

“Hundreds of children and their families use these pitches every year; it would be a huge loss to the community if DCC take that away.”

A spokesperson for Denbighshire County Council said: “We fully appreciate how important the Morfa playing fields are to the local community and especially Prestatyn Athletic Junior Football Club.

“The council is looking into the issues raised regarding the playing fields to help all stakeholders find the best resolution for the ground for those who use it in the community.

“In regards to the issue of grass cutting, an unseasonal mild spell meant the grass continued to grow.

“It was arranged for the Morfas pitches to be cut within the last fortnight, when the ground was not too wet for the machines.

“An internal meeting will take place with number of officers across several council services to discuss the general issue of sports pitch maintenance and management.

“This is not specifically about the Morfas, but it is part of a general review of our current arrangements.

“We are fully aware of stakeholder views on the Morfas and the club’s aspirations in relation to these pitches and we want to continue to work with and communicate with all involved at the site.”