Trust rejects cricket chiefs’ concerns
ACCRINGTON Stanley Community Trust has rejected claims that a proposed £2 million community sports hub would have a ‘serious detrimental impact on cricket in the area’.
A letter from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) sent to Hyndburn MP Graham Jones on October 24 raised ‘concerns’ about the proposals and the lack of an up-to-date valid playing pitch strategy (PPS) in the area.
However, Trust bosses said since the letter was written they have had ‘positive dialogue’ with the ECB and Sport England and that ‘both organisations are supportive of the sports hub proposal’.
ASCT wants to transform Higham’s Playing Fields to include a multi-use building to replace the current structure on the site, a full-size floodlit artificial football pitch, three grass pitches for football and rugby and a new artificial cricket wicket, and a 55-space car park.
In the ECB letter written by David Mahoney, director of strategy and public policy, to Mr Jones he said: “The ECB shares your concerns that the proposal, in its current state, could have a serious detrimental impact on cricket in the area; an area which as you rightly point out, is passionate about the game.
“ECB is in ongoing discussions with Sport England, the Trust and the local authority and it is evident that the lack of an up-to-date valid PPS is the root cause of the issue here.”
In response to the letter, Mr Jones said: “Whether the proposals should be taken forward, I am of the opinion that they could be more cricket-orientated.”
However, ASCT chief executive Martin Fearon said that they ‘do not see the sports hub having anything other than a positive effect on cricket in the area’.
Mr Fearon said the two grass wickets currently on the playing field will be replaced with a brand new ECB standard artificial wicket and there will be ‘no loss of cricket provision in the area’.
The deadline for representations to be made on the sports hub proposal is Friday, November 10.
Around 60 residents and groups have submitted letters in support of the sports hub scheme while more than 20 opposition letters and a 2,500 signature petition have also been sent to the council. A PUB duty manager is wanted by police in connection with an £8,500 theft from a safe.
Police said that Phil Barlow is alleged to have stolen £8,500 from the safe at The Commercial Hotel on Church Street in Accrington on October 30 before fleeing the scene.
Officers are investigating reports that the 52-year-old may have travelled to Thailand.
A Lancashire Police spokesperson said: “We were called at 2.30pm on October 30 to reports of a theft at The Commercial pub in Accrington.
“It is alleged that a duty manager has taken around £8,500 from the safe and made off from the scene.
“We have received phone calls saying that might have gone to Bangkok in Thailand and that is something that’s being investigated.”
Call police with information on 101 quoting log number 791 of October 30.
An artist’s impression of the proposed new sports hub at Higham’s Playing Fields