TRANENT and Preston Village Cricket Club (TPVCC) could be in their last season due to a steep rise in charges for hiring a pitch.

Founded in 2010, the club plays at Meadowmill and has about 70 members across two league teams and a further 20 recreational players.

But it claims a 185 per cent increase in its charges for using the pitch at Meadowmill has put the club’s future in doubt.

Last year, it said it paid a heavily subsidised £24 for a pitch – it is now proposed they pay £68.60.

Other cricket clubs in East Lothian also enjoy discounted play, say the authorities, but a long-standing informal agreement meant TPVCC’s deal was better.

enjoyleisure, which oversee the running of pitches and sports centres across East Lothian on behalf of East Lothian Council, has said that Tranent and Preston Village Cricket Club (TPVCC) has had its fees “heavily subsidised” in an informal agreement since 2013, a discount that it says cannot continue.

enjoyleisure says it is currently in discussion with local cricket clubs, who have been invited to put comments forward for its cricket price review.

But those at TPVCC say that the club was not consulted on the decision, which they believe will affect cricket clubs county-wide.

In 2010, TPVCC started paying £15 for one game, rising to £24 by 2014.

The current interim charge for all cricket clubs this season is £50.95 per session for a seven-hour booking.

The proposed new pitch charges are £68.60 – or £81.90 if changing and showering facilities are required. The higher amount, insists enjoyleisure, is equal to £11.70 per hour for a seven-hour session, or 53p per head per hour based on 22 players.

The price rise will affect all of East Lothian’s cricket clubs but TPVCC are concerned it could be the death knell for the club.

enjoyleisure has said that the new charges remain subsidised to “support the continued development of cricket in East Lothian”.

Scott Russell, TPVCC secretary, called the fees “ridiculous” and “very disappointing”.

He claimed: “enjoyleisure haven’t consulted with us on this decision.

“The charges are horrendous considering the amount of support enjoyleisure has given us.

“They just see it as needing to cover costs. We don’t have a pavilion and don’t use any buildings, just the pitch, so staff don’t help us, so that’s why ours was cheaper.

“In my opinion, I am not sure if we will be able to continue with these prices.

We will try our very best to keep the club going, even if we have to use a farmer’s field, which we would jump at the chance of using.

“So many people have contributed to the club over the years so it would be sad to see it go.”

Bill Axon, enjoyleisure chief executive, said: “At enjoy, our mandate is to provide sports, recreation and leisure facilities at fair and equitable prices across communities in East Lothian. 

“We strive to ensure the ongoing viability of our facilities and continually seek to invest and improve our service offering so communities continue to benefit.

“We take income generation seriously while ensuring there are minimal financial barriers to participation, so that everyone in our communities has the opportunity to use our facilities. When reviewing our charges, enjoy must consider pitch hire, utility cost of pavilions, staffing and building checks.

“To ensure the sustainability of community clubs, it is enjoy’s policy to absorb much of these costs, in partnership with East Lothian Council, to encourage our communities to get active and stay active. This policy applies to all activities offered by enjoy.”

Mr Axon said that cricket clubs within East Lothian “have been and remain heavily subsidised”.

“Considering Tranent & Preston Village Cricket Club, an informal agreement has been in place since 2013, where the club received a reduced charge for use of the cricket pitch,” he explained.

“It is not viable for enjoy to continue this discount in perpetuity. Instead, we are currently in discussion with the clubs who have been invited to put forward their comments for inclusion in our intended cricket prices review. This will include an appraisal of comparable cricket charges across the country.”