Plans to save the state of the art 3G football pitches on the former Glenburn Sports College site have taken a positive step forward that could see school pupils and the wider community using the pitches once again.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper joined Jo Whitfield of Delph Side Community Primary School, Kevin Davidson of SHARES, sports coach Jack England and Councillor Terry Aldridge for an onsite inspection of the facilities to assess their current condition having not been maintained since the closure of Glenburn Sports College.
This follows Delph Side Community Primary School’s meeting with Lancashire County Council officers during which they were informed that ‘from an estates point of view we are happy for you to have the equipment.’ This breakthrough keeps hopes alive that the football pitches in the heart of the town can be saved for the benefit of the community.
Initially Lancashire County Council and Delph Side Primary had received conflict advice on whether the football pitches could be relocated preventing any progress.
Now the way has been cleared for Delph Side Primary and partners, including SHARES, to pursue the planning permission required to relocate the facilities and equipment. It will also allow for the appropriate work to establish what works will be required to move the facility across the Delph Side school’s grounds in Tanhouse.
MP Rosie will be working with the school on securing the funding necessary to prepare the new site for the transfer of the 3G pitches and equipment, such as fencing, floodlights and goalposts.
Speaking after the site visit MP Rosie Cooper said:
“The possibility the football pitches could be saved for the local community is great news. Though there is still a considerable amount of work required to make this a reality.
“Delph Side Primary have been proactive in their pursuit of saving these facilities. The hard work hard of Jo and her colleagues has paid off.
“During our pitch inspection we discussed the importance of securing funding to save the facility. I am committed to working with Delph Side and SHARES to secure the monies needed to make this relocation happen.
“We all share the same commitment and determination to protect the 3G football pitches as Skelmersdale has already lost too many of its sports facilities.
Jo Whitfield, business manager at Delph Side Community Primary School said:
“Being able to keep such state of the art sports facilities within our community here in the centre of Skelmersdale would be a massive boost to local school pupils and the whole community.
“There has been a considerable amount of work just to get to this point where Lancashire County Council have been willing to even consider the relocation of the football pitches.
“We now want to move quickly with securing planning permission, establishing the practicalities of moving the equipment and what it will cost to do so.
“This is our one real opportunity to have fantastic, high-quality multi-use sports facilities available to local schools for years to come.
“It is great to have the support of our MP Rosie Cooper, Councillor Aldridge and our partners, such SHARES, in working with us to save these much-needed sports facilities for Skelmersdale.”
Kevin Davidson, chief executive of SHARES, commented:
“There is no question keeping these sports facilities so they are once again available to the people of the town and located in central Skelmersdale will be transformational.
“SHARES are committed to doing everything we can to support Delph Side on this project that is about more than football pitches. It is about the health and wellbeing of individuals, encouraging them to be active.
“There is great social and community benefits that can be achieved through people participating in sports activity, in bringing people together, in a town that has already lost vital local sports facilities."
If anyone would like to support the development of this project, be it professionals with experience in this area, members of the local business community or Skelmersdale and Up Holland residents, your support would be welcomed. Alternatively, if there are groups that would like to access the facility in the future please call us now. Speak to either Jo Whitfield at Delph Side Community School (01695 721881) or Kevin Davidson at SHARES Lancashire (01695 729897).