Clubs’ fear over pool plan

Thorncliffe Playing Fields
Thorncliffe Playing Fields
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Sports clubs are demanding answers over whether they will be turfed off playing fields to make way for a new swimming pool in the north of Sheffield.

Users of Thorncliffe recreation grounds in High Green have voiced fears for the future after Sheffield Council earmarked the site for a new multi-million pound facility.

The announcement came as a blow to the club house, local bowls and tennis group, junior football teams and Chapeltown Hockey Club, who have been working together on a plan to run and maintain the fields independently after Sheffield Council said it would withdraw subsidy.

After 18 months the Thorncliffe Sports and Community Development Group was ready to negotiate a lease with the local authority - but plans for the 25-metre pool, designed to replace Chapeltown Baths and Stocksbridge leisure centre, has brought it to a standstill.

While proposals use only a small part of the playing fields off Pack Horse Lane, leaving the football pitches, tennis courts and bowling greens largely untouched, the group fears the whole site could fall into private hands.

Graham Elliott, chairman of the group, said: “Users of the fields and various sports clubs got together and now we are finally in a position to bid for some funding and run independently, maintaining the site and paying the council rent each year.

“The swimming pool has put us in limbo. We certainly don’t want another organisation to come along and take over managing the whole site, a private company to have the land and then start charging us for its upkeep.”

Sheffield Council’s director of culture and environment Paul Billington said he is due to meet with the group next week to discuss the best way forward.

Mr Elliott added: “We cannot spend two or three years hanging around to wait for a decision. Users are talking to Paul all the time so that we can understand where this leaves us as a group.”