AS a coach for Wiltshire Council and Salisbury Athletics and Running Club, I believe I have a unique perspective on the athletics club being locked out of the track. Frankly, in investigating the issue, the facts leave me horrified. There can be absolutely no valid reason to leave almost 100 children, including those with disabilities, training in a car park.

The legal aspects on ownership of the clubhouse and contracts can be sorted out by lawyers but the reputation of the school and the governors can only be enhanced by unlocking the gates until such times as those matters are sorted.

Maybe I am being naïve but I also expected better of the Wiltshire Council. Surely they should be supporting voluntary community organisations and not leaving them to train in a car park? Why give away a community facility without first ensuring ongoing community access? What about all the non-club users who would pay their £4 in the leisure centre? Are they going to have to pay £50 an hour to run round the track that was built with local taxpayers’ money for the community to use? What are Wiltshire Council doing to find those children somewhere else to train?

This decision could affect the lives of hundreds of people for decades to come so action must be taken. In my 14 years at the club, I have seen it be nothing but a force for good. I’ve seen smokers switch addictions to cigarettes to addictions to running miles. I’ve seen a little deaf girl be helped up mid race by her teammate who refuses to leave somebody behind. I’ve seen older generations be supported and have access to a community who end up being a family to them. Most of all, I see a group of people supported by a much wider community that won’t stop until they have their young and vulnerable back on their track.

As a medical student, we are constantly lectured on growing obesity crisis and the rising prevalence of diabetes. Is this really the legacy SWGS and Wiltshire Council want to leave?

Alex Mundell, Salisbury