New cricket ground 'vital' to the future of Sheffield cricket club
Plans to build Sheffield’s first new cricket ground in more than 80 years are ‘vital’ to the future of a city club formed circa 1876.
The council has submitted an application to create the facility on Matthews Lane recreation field in Norton which would be used by Norton Woodseats Cricket Club (NWCC), who currently play at Graves Park, from the 2022 season.
The proposals include a pavilion to use as a clubhouse with a bar and kitchen facilities, a scoreboard and 15m-high ball-stop netting, and the creation of a new access road plus 22 car parking spaces.
James Eyre, NWCC committee member, said: “It's vital to our future. If we don't have this move there's a danger to the future of the club.
"We are fighting to stay still at the moment.”
The club has two senior sides and mixed junior teams from ages nine to 15 – but their current pitch is on a slope. No fewer than 18 cricket pitches in Sheffield have also been lost in recent years.
Sheffield City Council said The Matthews Lane site is suitable for outdoor sport but, left unused, has attracted anti-social behaviour.
James, 37, who lives in Greenhill, said: “In terms of the wider impact it can be a positive in that it will enable more facilities to become available and get more opportunities out there for youngsters.
“We see it as a community thing at the new ground. If there's local groups that can make use of it then we are all for that.”
Dave Colegate from NWCC said the bar would only open with ‘sensible’ hours on matchdays.
Some nearby residents raised concerns about the height of the proposed netting and whether it would be permanent as well as the scoreboard location.
John Shillito, from South Yorkshire Police also said he had “grave concerns” about the construction of the pavilion, which would include wooden cladding and weatherboard.
He continued: “It is clear that no consideration has been given to security.
“Given the current climate and the fact buildings like these are regularly broken into, particularly when alcohol is stored on site, this is completely unfit for purpose and will probably be the subject of burglary before its even finished.”
The pavilion should be constructed entirely of brick, Mr Shillito said.