Petition is launched over long-term use of pitches

Derian House playing fields
Derian House playing fields

A petition calling on Chorley Council to grant a long-term lease for a junior football club to play on a field has been launched.

Rob Loughenbury, the prospective parliamentary candidate for Chorley, has launched the petition after he claims Labour councillors have attempted to block the club from securing a 25-year lease on a field across from Derian House, in Chancery Road, Astley Village.

The club have played on there for six years and a long-term lease would help secure funding from The FA.

Astley and Buckshaw applied to do this through a Neighbourhood Project.

Opponents previously said that other things in the village should be more of a priority.

Mr Loughenbury said:“I want Astley and Buckshaw to gain a long lease on the playing fields it already uses. This will allow this brilliant community asset to apply for national funding to improve its facilities.

“Our petition has gained almost 100 signatures in the first 24 hours, in many cases from mums and dads of players at the club. We will keep pushing until we get the right result.”

A counter offer has been made by Chorley Counci..

Matt Lynch, ward councillor for Astley and Buckshaw, added: “I’m disappointed by the comments made.

“An offer of a five year lease has been submitted to the club and it will be reviewed after four years in line with the council’s open space strategy.

“We certainly aren’t trying to block them from playing football and discussions are on going.

“We are trying to help everybody in the village and we are looking at how to tackle the parking which was one of the concerns raised.”

Coun Peter Wilson, deputy leader of Chorley Council, said: “Mr Loughenbury is incorrect saying that we are blocking this. We have received a request from the club and our officers have met with them. We needed additional information from the club which we received on Wednesday afternoon, but now we’ve got all the information we need, we can now consider the request and make a decision.”

A spokesperson for Astley and Buckshaw Junior Football Club said: “Discussions are still ongoing with the council, the club really needs a lease and unfortunately some elected members don’t see it as a priority.

“We are concerned that we could end up losing the pitches.

“We as a club are calling on the council to honour their own policy which is the open space strategy.”