New £1m. sports facility plan stalled

Plans for two state-of-the-art 3G multi-use pitches for grassroots sport in Clitheroe have come to a standstill.

Tuesday, 25th September 2018, 4:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th September 2018, 4:12 pm
Youngsters from Clitheroe Wolves celebrating earlier this year when the proposals were given the green light. (s)

Earlier this year, proposals for a new artificial grass pitch and refurbishment of an existing sports area with associated fencing, floodlighting, access pathways and storage units at the Roefield Playing Fields in Edisford Road, were given the go-ahead at Ribble Valley Borough Council’s Planning and Development Committee meeting thanks to a £1m kick-start by the Lancaster Foundation.

Operated by new charity Ribble Valley Community Sports Trust, the pitches would provide much-needed all-weather facilities for training and matches to local youngsters, ensuring year-round sport, alongside the existing grass provision.

The existing, smaller 3G and sand-filled training areas were set to be replaced with a larger pitch, in addition to a new full-size match ready ground.

However, plans have now come to a stumbling block and can only move forward if an agreement over the land lease and allocation of slots available for sports development is agreed.

It is understood, the council is not in agreement with a revised financial offer by the RVCST and negotiations are currently ongoing to resolve the situation.

At a meeting of the council’s Community Services Committee last month, a report stated: “The revised offer being proposed is that the council only receives £10,000 for the first year of operation payable once the facility is built and then £20,000 per annum thereafter.

“The 10% of slots available for sports development had been withdrawn.”

However, Ross Hibbert, of Clitheroe Wolves, says this is untrue. He said: “The council wants 10% of the available slots and the income from the slots, plus the agreed rental figure.

“The RVCST went back to committee on September 4th, to request the 10% slots were left in, but the income from the slots was taken by the RVCST. This was refused. The rental figure was to remain the same.”

Ross added: “Currently, both the RVCST and the RVBC are exploring other avenues to make the project work. I just want a facility for local youngsters to play football.

“Until a compromise or other venue is found then the project is on hold. The Lancaster Foundation are still 100% supporting to enhance local sports facilities.”