A 'Fill the pitch' protest over controversial plans for Hucknall football pitches has been CANCELLED

A ‘fill the pitch’ public protest organised over a controversial proposal to stop Hucknall Sports Junior Football Club using their long-standing home pitches has been cancelled.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 10:00 am
The land off Kenbrook Road where Hucknall Sports play
The land off Kenbrook Road where Hucknall Sports play

The Dispatch has just discovered that the plug has been pulled on the event, which had been planned for 3pm on Sunday, July 18, at the Papplewick Green pitches off Kenbrook Road in the town.

Ashfield District Council which owns the land, had taken the stance as it looks to arrange a short-term management agreement with the locally-based community interest company, a non-profit organisation – Sports Gateway – which is currently based at the Rolls-Royce Leisure site in Hucknall.

Sports Gateway recently submitted a planning application, which has now been paused, to build a 3G pitch – and a further element, a classroom, has also been withdrawn

The 'Fill The Pitch' protest has been cancelled

Now Ashfield District Council has offered a deal which would keep Sports on the ground and discussions are continuing.

On the back of this, organisers of the protest, which hasn’t been set up by Hucknall Sports, have decided not to go ahead.

Well-known Ian Brough, who was one of those who instigated the protest, told the Dispatch: “When I heard about this issue, I had to get involved. I have collaborated with others to spread the word and get the public behind the protest.

"But today I am reliably informed that Hucknall Sports have potentially got an amicable arrangement to secure use of the playing fields and rightly so.

"Our younger generations need facilities now more than ever and once again this incredible community has come together to show support for what is good and proper. I think it is very important for our councillors to remember, we are the people that vote to put them where they are.”

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Earlier this week, another of those involved in the protest plan, Richard Darrington, said: "Whether this is too late or not I don’t know. My lads have played for Hucknall Sports. Children’s football is vital for the stability of children, without that in their lives it’s a void that could be taken by other things that are not good.

"I can’t blame a business seeing an opportunity. I think the issue is with the council. This is different, when you start involving children’s football it is personal.

"This would mean one less green space and I believe there are plenty of alternative sites.”

Hucknall Sports has been running for more than 44 years and has worked with thousands of local children. A registered charity, teams previously played at the Wigwam Lane Playing Fields which were controversially sold off for housing despite a covenant protecting them for open space recreation.

The pitches and changing rooms off Kenbrook Road were built as a condition of planning permission for the housing.