Support for verge fight

Ilkeston supporters group with cllr Frank Phillips outside the new manor ground to launch a pavement campaign
Ilkeston supporters group with cllr Frank Phillips outside the new manor ground to launch a pavement campaign

Politicians have joined the fight to replace ‘dangerous’ grass verges at the entrance to Ilkeston FC’s ground.

Duncan Payne, chairman of the club’s supporters group, has secured the support of local Labour politicians as he moves towards gathering 500 signatures to replace the sloping verges at the New Manor Ground with pavement.

So far 113 signatures have been gathered on an online petition.

Barrister and Labour hopeful for the 2015 General Election Catherine Atkinson said: “The supporters contacted me through Twitter initially some weeks ago about the perilous state of the route by foot of supporters to the ground.

“The route does not have a proper pavement and is dangerous especially with the number of fans coming to the grounds on match days.”

“With the supporters behind this campaign I think it has every chance of success.”

Mr Payne said the verges were ‘an accident waiting to happen’ as fans are forced to walk on the verges when arriving for and leaving matches.

He is now gathering photographic evidence – including at Tuesday’s game against Burton Albion – in order to eventually present evidence to both Erewash Borough Council, which owns the land, and Derbyshire Coutny Council, in charge of highways.

“Although it will undoubtedly be a problem at the big games we have coming up, there are problems at the smaller games too, especially at the end of the match when everyone leaves at once,” he said.

The lack of a flat area to walk on, coupled with the high speed that some cars approach the lights at the Awsworth Road bridge, means that a collision between a fan and a vehicle is likely, he said.

Ilkeston Labour councillors, including Frank Phillips and Glennice Birkin, have also joined the fight.