Outrage at footy club plans for green site

Bailiff Bridge residents, including Coun David Kirton (Con, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe

Bailiff Bridge residents, including Coun David Kirton (Con, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe

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A community has expressed its outrage at a football club’s plans to build a new changing facility.

Clifton Rangers is putting together a submission to planning chiefs for a single-storey glass fronted building including changing areas, referees room, kitchen and garage.

The club held a consultation afternoon to discuss the plans with residents at the planned site on Bailiff Bridge playing fields, Bradford Road, where the club has a 25-year-lease from Calderdale Council.

However, the majority of local residents seemed to be angry about the proposed plans with many saying they were being robbed of access to their green space.

Resident Wynne Silkstone, 67, said: “It’s a disgrace. It should not have got to this position. We had a community meeting and about 90 per cent of people were against it.

“We’re worried they want to take over the site but what about locals who use the space.”

Tracy Andrews, 45, said: “It’s the way they’ve gone about it. We only had a week’s notice about this consultation - it feels like a bit of a smoke screen.”

Councillor Colin Raistrick (Ind, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe) said: “There is a real problem that there are two groups that are very suspicious of each other.

“The council’s only choice is to work within the legal framework. We are the landlord and Clifton Rangers are the leaseholders and are entitled to make a planning application.

“This has always been open access for groups like the Brownies and residents are worried that they won’t have that access.

“A compromise has to be found.”

Chris Smith, chairman of Clifton Rangers, said: “About a year ago we had a consultation with about 100 people attending. We took on board what was said and have scaled back the plans removing the 3G pitch and floodlights.

“It’s hugely important for the club and the children we have as players. These plans will give them proper changing facilities .

“We’ve been talking and consulting for over a year so people have had plenty of time to see the plans. This is crucial for the club.”

Sally Hutchinson, 45, from Bailiff Bridge, said: “It feels as though opposing views aren’t being heard. I don’t have a problem with them playing football here but it feels like we are being moved off the green space which should be for the public use.”

Councillor David Kirton (Con, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe) said: “I think the council needs to consider the views of local people. There is a strong feeling that it shouldn’t go forward.”

The application from Clifton Rangers will be submitted to the council’s planning department for consideration.