Council to kick on with sports pitches scheme

Simon Hore, chairman of Ribble Valley Borough Councils community services committee
Simon Hore, chairman of Ribble Valley Borough Councils community services committee
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A council is to kick on with plans to build two state-of-the-art artificial sports pitches in Clitheroe.

Ribble Valley Borough Council’s community services committee gave the go-ahead in March for the Lancaster Foundation to build the pitches on council land in Edisford Road.

The proposal would see the pitches run by the newly-formed Ribble Valley Community Sports Trust for a nominal £20,000 per year and Ribble Valley Borough Council retain 10 per cent pitch availability.

The deal, which would see the council forego £500,000 in income over the 25-year lease period, would have secured state-of-the-art, all-weather facilities for use by Clitheroe Wolves and community sports development projects.

But the committee’s September meeting heard that the trust wanted to withdraw its offer of 10 per cent allocation rights and cut its first year’s rent by half.

Simon Hore, chairman of Ribble Valley Borough Council’s community services committee, said: “Councillors unanimously agreed that the scheme was fantastic, but the complete loss of the facility would be unacceptable to residents.

“The council’s investment in the project by way of reduced income over the lease period would have been considerable, but the withdrawal of allocation rights would not be in the best interests of the wider community.

“We are committed to the project and have instructed officers to investigate other means of delivering the pitches for the benefit the whole community.

“We are also continuing discussions with the Lancaster Foundation to see if we can find a way forward in partnership with them on this fantastic scheme.”