SPORTS clubs across Penarth have warned that their survival has been thrown into doubt after the council announced new plans.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council is considering making clubs which have exclusive use of facilities manage those facilities themselves or pay all the running costs.

The council said the move is in a bid to reduce expenditure in a response to shrinking budgets.

“It is important to remember that, year on year, the council is facing tougher challenges in delivering a wide range of services in the face of increasing pressures and reducing budgets,” said Dave Knevett, the council’s operational manager for neighbourhood services, healthy living and transport.

“This council, like many others in Wales, is unable to continue to provide the level of subsidy to outdoor sports provision that it has in the past.”

Mr Knevett pointed out the “successful transfer” of five libraries to community-based organisations as a sign the plans could work.

“It is hoped that the majority of clubs currently using council facilities will be able to continue to provide opportunities for all to participate in sports activities,” he said.

However, members of local sports clubs did not share in the council’s enthusiasm for the switch-over.

Graham Russell, who is the treasurer of Murch Bowls Club in Dinas Powys, said: “My thoughts are there are going to be a lot of clubs which will not survive.

“Before this announcement, [the council] had been looking after our grounds and paid for most of the maintenance of the green.

“We have been paying a percentage towards the overall costs because the council own this site.

“But if they stop, that is going to be very bad for us.

“To go from them paying 96 per cent to zero is going to hit us hard.”

He added: “I fear that we may not survive if that happens.”

Tony Crimp, club president of Old Penarthians RFC, said the council’s plans were “detrimental” and a “double-edged sword”.

He said amounts charged by the council for services like line-painting and grass-cutting would “go up considerably” if the plans went ahead.

“I think it would be prohibitive, and could affect our participation in the sport,” Mr Crimp added.

“The positive side would be that we would be in charge of our own facilities – but that would come at a cost.”

Mr Knevett was due to meet Old Penarthians yesterday on November 7 to discuss the council’s plans.

Clubs likely to be affected by the proposed changes would have an opportunity to meet individually with the council, Mr Knevett said.