Cricketers fight for home ground

Land battle: The Wednesday Cricket Club chairman Neville Wright at Ripon Street, Attercliffe.          PICTURE: STEVE ELLIS
Land battle: The Wednesday Cricket Club chairman Neville Wright at Ripon Street, Attercliffe. PICTURE: STEVE ELLIS
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A HISTORIC cricket club is fighting to have its permanent pitch on a site Sheffield Council has earmarked for housing.

Bosses at The Wednesday Cricket Club – forerunner of the football team – want to make their base on land off Ripon Street, Attercliffe, which they say was meant for recreational use under a covenant.

But Sheffield Council has deemed the land ‘surplus to requirements’ and it is now part of plans to regenerate the area with housing.

Neville Wright, club chairman, said: “The land is not ‘surplus to requirements’ because we want it and people enjoy the benefits of the covenant placed on it.

“Cricket is part of the sporting history of the area – the next road up is Cricket Inn Road. There is enough room to regenerate Attercliffe on all fronts, with social housing and light commerce, but also sporting facilities.

“We’ve not lost interest in the land and, until the council say what exactly they want in terms of a price for it, I would like to ensure the recreational covenant is respected and we can have an opportunity to raise the money that’s required.”

The club was founded in 1820. Members set up the famous football team in 1867 as a way for the cricketers to keep fit over winter.

Owls fans looking for a summer hobby reconvened the cricket club last year, but it is presently without a permanent home.

Mr Wright said the council had been ‘unclear’ about Ripon Street’s availability, while other potential sites were unsuitable and had fallen into disrepair.

The council said it advised the club last August that Ripon Street was unavailable as the land forms part of the Attercliffe Masterplan.

The land, and other sites nearby, are proposed for housing.

Ripon Street as a charitable open space was declared ‘surplus to requirements’ by the early 1990s as housing nearby had disappeared, said the authority.

Simon Green, Sheffield Council spokesman, said: “I am surprised Wednesday Cricket Club are saying we have not been helpful.

“We have been in talks with them for months now to try to find a potential site.

“We have suggested several alternatives but these have been declined on inspection.

“Of course, we will continue to work with the club to help them find a suitable site, but Ripon Street has been ruled out.”

The council said charitable covenants on Ripon Street will transfer to other open spaces in Attercliffe once the site is sold.