A BIG step has been taken towards Hucknall at last scoring with a new hub for football after the sacrifice of pitches on the Wigwam Lane Playing Fields for housing.
More than 800 properties are planned for the Wigwam and the adjoining Grange Farm site as part of a controversial development.
Bulldozers have already torn up former football pitches that were once a bustling centre for youngsters to learn the sport.
One of the conditions of the housing receiving the green light was that the pitches and associated changing rooms must be replaced to at least the same standard and preferably better.
Long delays have caused anger among residents and users.
But now the grass for the pitches has been laid and housing company, Barratt Homes, has submitted a planning application to build pavilions to house new changing rooms.
Associated with the plan is a new car park. The site is off Papplewick Lane in Hucknall as part of the vast development plot.
Coun Chris Baron (Lab), of Hucknall, who is a member of Ashfield District Council, fought for the pitches to be replaced from the moment the plans to build on the Wigwam were first unveiled in the late 1990s.
This week he told the Dispatch: “It is long overdue. It has taken some time to get to this stage and the site looks an absolute mess.
“But the sooner they can get the pavilions up, the sooner the local clubs will have an alternative space for football.
“This development will also pave the way for a country park that is planned for the site. The sooner the better. We have to make the best of this for Hucknall.”
The campaign to save the Wigwam started in 1997 but gathered full momentum in 2005 through the Wigwam Warriors campaign group.
It was discovered that former owner Emily Ada Story, who gave the fields to Hucknall, stipulated in a covenant that they should only be used for recreation. But this has been bypassed.
A protest march was held in 2006 and the Warriors even made a bid to achieve ‘village green status’ for the site to save it from development.
This failed and houses are now springing up.
A decision on the pavilions application is due to be made by the first week of December.
Coun Baron added: “It would be fitting if the new sports pavilions were named after Ada Story.”