Hucknall Sports to leave Papplewick Green pitches
Hucknall Sports junior football club has announced it is to leave its current home on the Papplewick Green pitches on Kenbrook Road.
Ashfield District Council (ADC), which owns the fields where the club played its games, took the decision to change their pitch usage as it looked to arrange a short-term management agreement with the locally-based community interest company, Sports Gateway, which is currently based at Rolls-Royce Leisure in Hucknall.
Sports Gateway recently submitted a planning application to build a 3G pitch, classroom and associated storage on the site.
The first two elements have now been withdrawn after residents objected.
Sports do not have a formal long-term agreement for the pitches, which already feature car parking and a building containing changing rooms.
But the council move sparked a huge outpouring of public outcry in support of Sports.
More than 6,000 people have signed an online petition expressing their objection.
The council did table offer for the club to continue using the pitches but this was declined.
And now, the club has taken the decision to move on.
In a statement, Alan Spray, club chairman, said: “Hucknall Sports Youth Club has provided grassroots football in the local community for the past 44 years.
"We pride ourselves on our sincerity and integrity, just two of our core values, as we go from strength to strength each year.
"Having lost the opportunity to do so in 1995 when we first tried to obtain a secure lease on Wigwam, it has always been our intention to grow along with the local community and create a community hub to be proud of at Papplewick Green.
"However, recent developments have forced us to evaluate our position considering ADC awarding a 12-month management agreement to Sports Gateway without prior consultation to ourselves or others, and we feel we have been forced into an untenable situation due to the complete lack of transparency with the whole project.
"The proposed arrangement from ADC would mean Hucknall Sports having to sublet the pitches at Papplewick Green from Sports Gateway.
“Although the decision has been difficult to come to terms with, we are unanimous in deciding this is the right course of action for our club.“We would like to put our thanks on record to the thousands of members of the community that have supported our plight these last two weeks.
"The response has been beyond remarkable and everyone from the president to the latest soccer school recruit appreciates it greatly and assures them that all our 28 teams will be functioning as normal next season.”
More to follow on this story.