Fears over closure of playgrounds and football pitches in Kearsley

The deserted playing fields at South Avenue, Kearsley

The deserted playing fields at South Avenue, Kearsley

Bolton Road

No sign of any ball games at the Bolton Road playing fields

Bolton Road and, below, Birch Road playing fields

First published in News
Last updated
This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

KEARSLEY residents have expressed concerns over the closure of playgrounds and football pitches in the area.

Residents are worried about the recent closure of play areas for children in Birch Road, Bolton Road and the Ringley Meadows estate, and of football pitches at South Avenue, George Tomlinson School and Folds Road.

But the council has said there are seven different sites for play — including so-called “multi-use games areas” and two football pitches.

It also pointed to the redevelopment of the tennis courts at Bradford Street Park.

Simon Colley, aged 44, grew up in Mossfield Road, near South Avenue, the site of a former football pitch.

He said: “It’s a horrendous situation — it’s really sad. Over the last 50 years we have lost a lot of sporting facilities. It feels like there’s nowhere to kick a ball around now.

“I used to play football at George Tomlinson School. I played on every single pitch in Kearsley, and every one of them has gone.

“The only field you can kick a ball around on is Grosvenor Street and there are no goalposts there.

“When I moved near the Ringley Meadows estate, there were four or five play areas for children, now they have all gone.

“It’s a lot to go in such a short space of time. In an era where they encouraging people to keep fit, it’s a real, real shame. It’s very disappointing.

“Kearsley has always been a good place to live. As a child, I had so many open spaces to play. I put a lot of the blame on the council — they are happy to let people build on every single piece of land.

“If it carries on like this, future children will not exercise or do team sports properly.

“The old pitches are still there, so to simply not look after them is criminal.”

Darren Hilton, aged 42, of Ringley Meadows, has lived in Kearsley all his life, and used to play football in Folds Road, opposite St Saviour Primary School.

The pitch in Folds Road has since been closed.

Mr Hilton, who has a five-year-old son, said: “I feel a bit disgusted with how few facilities children and young people have available to them.

“If my son or other children round here want to play football, they have to walk to Prestolee, which is ridiculous.

“It would be fantastic if more play areas could be introduced. Otherwise you’ve just got lots of land which isn’t used anymore.”

Andrea Heffernan, also of Ringley Meadows, added: “We used to have a few play areas here, but sadly they got into disrepair and had to close.

“I think it’s such a big estate, that they could have another play area, something for the children. That’s something that’s missing.”

Cllr Derek Burrows, for Kearsley, said that, while he sympathised with these concerns, the town’s budget at present would not stretch far enough to provide more football pitches.

Cllr Burrows highlighted the investment in a play area in Hulme Road, the renovation of tennis courts at Bradford Street Park and the planned refurbishment of Kearsley Park as reasons for the town’s residents to be positive.

He said: “I understand what’s been said — there’s more I would like to do, but with the budget constraints we have got, we have to choose carefully. The upkeep of football pitches is all down to finance.

“A lot of the football pitches weren’t being used, which is why they had to close.

“I’m really pleased with the work being done on the tennis courts at Bradford Street Park. This will bring more people to the area and get more people taking part in exercise.

“The play area in Hulme Road is brilliant, and Kearsley Park in Bolton Road is in the budget for 2015 to be refurbished.

“In terms of play areas, there are adequate facilities available.”

A council spokesman said: “We are committed to providing and maintaining suitable green space, playing facilities and play area for both adults and children across Kearsley.

“Inevitably, playing facilities and play areas across a town will change over the course of 50 years and we must respond to changes in demand and changes in population density across the town.”

There are currently play areas or multi-use games areas for children at seven different sites in Kearsley, including Kearsley Park, Brook Street, Bradford Street Park, Bank Top Park, Moss Lane, Church Road and Hulme Road.

According to the council’s approved play area strategy, new play equipment will also be installed at Kearsley Park in Bolton Road in 2015.

There are also football pitches at Bradford Street Park and Darley Park.

A spokesman added: “Work is nearing completion on the re-surfacing and re-fencing of the tennis courts at Bradford Street Park, as part of a £2 million programme to invest in green spaces across the borough.”

Comments (9)

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11:31am Mon 28 Apr 14

davidjb says...

The football pitches went downhill after they removed the goal posts permanently and never cut the grass. kids don't want to play in downsized goals and on tarmac, as a kid i played on st peters st greggs st stevens darley park but they slowly removed the goal posts one by one, st greggs turned into a field with someones horse on, and the number of times 30 angry women would come set up shop in the middle of our match we'd organised saying they've 'booked the field for rounders' then would deliberately chase the ball down and then pop it.
The football pitches went downhill after they removed the goal posts permanently and never cut the grass. kids don't want to play in downsized goals and on tarmac, as a kid i played on st peters st greggs st stevens darley park but they slowly removed the goal posts one by one, st greggs turned into a field with someones horse on, and the number of times 30 angry women would come set up shop in the middle of our match we'd organised saying they've 'booked the field for rounders' then would deliberately chase the ball down and then pop it. davidjb
  • Score: 2

12:17pm Mon 28 Apr 14

FreedomOfSpeech1945 says...

It'll be all housing soon. *******
It'll be all housing soon. ******* FreedomOfSpeech1945
  • Score: 5

2:59pm Mon 28 Apr 14

John Edwards says...

I totally agree with FreedomOfSpeech. This is what happened to Kearsley town hall, left to get vandalized and now houses are being built on the land. The elections are just around the corner, vote wisely. If you don't the inevitable will happen, Bolton will sell off the land. "Watch that space" Still waiting to hear that Tesco has got more land bus station.
I totally agree with FreedomOfSpeech. This is what happened to Kearsley town hall, left to get vandalized and now houses are being built on the land. The elections are just around the corner, vote wisely. If you don't the inevitable will happen, Bolton will sell off the land. "Watch that space" Still waiting to hear that Tesco has got more land bus station. John Edwards
  • Score: 3

3:04pm Mon 28 Apr 14

John Edwards says...

I need to got back to bed and start again. Should read Moor Lane bus station
I need to got back to bed and start again. Should read Moor Lane bus station John Edwards
  • Score: 2

7:36pm Mon 28 Apr 14

irwell1 says...

davidjb wrote:
The football pitches went downhill after they removed the goal posts permanently and never cut the grass. kids don't want to play in downsized goals and on tarmac, as a kid i played on st peters st greggs st stevens darley park but they slowly removed the goal posts one by one, st greggs turned into a field with someones horse on, and the number of times 30 angry women would come set up shop in the middle of our match we'd organised saying they've 'booked the field for rounders' then would deliberately chase the ball down and then pop it.
Spot on. Plus if you go to YouTube and type in 'Kearsley Dismantle' you will see a video showing everything you describe and more about what has happened in the town, including the Town Hall shambles.
[quote][p][bold]davidjb[/bold] wrote: The football pitches went downhill after they removed the goal posts permanently and never cut the grass. kids don't want to play in downsized goals and on tarmac, as a kid i played on st peters st greggs st stevens darley park but they slowly removed the goal posts one by one, st greggs turned into a field with someones horse on, and the number of times 30 angry women would come set up shop in the middle of our match we'd organised saying they've 'booked the field for rounders' then would deliberately chase the ball down and then pop it.[/p][/quote]Spot on. Plus if you go to YouTube and type in 'Kearsley Dismantle' you will see a video showing everything you describe and more about what has happened in the town, including the Town Hall shambles. irwell1
  • Score: 4

8:30pm Mon 28 Apr 14

Brumas says...

It’s not only Kearsley its all the Borough, but just ask your Councillor what he knows about the Old Six Acre rule or its modern equivalent as described by the Fields in Trust. These two snippets of legislation inform residents just what councils are obliged to provide per Thousand capita head of the of the Borough. The council is cutting back on meeting their obligations, regarding open recreation space, yet aspires to City status which it will never attain without meeting these obligations.
It’s not only Kearsley its all the Borough, but just ask your Councillor what he knows about the Old Six Acre rule or its modern equivalent as described by the Fields in Trust. These two snippets of legislation inform residents just what councils are obliged to provide per Thousand capita head of the of the Borough. The council is cutting back on meeting their obligations, regarding open recreation space, yet aspires to City status which it will never attain without meeting these obligations. Brumas
  • Score: 2

10:51pm Tue 29 Apr 14

mr.mark.c says...

I notice the photo of the so called Birch Road playing field cuts off the childrens centre, incidently there was a park there until they removed it, and then they built the centre even though there was a petition with lots of signitures againsts it, Oh and they planted trees where the park once stood.
I notice the photo of the so called Birch Road playing field cuts off the childrens centre, incidently there was a park there until they removed it, and then they built the centre even though there was a petition with lots of signitures againsts it, Oh and they planted trees where the park once stood. mr.mark.c
  • Score: 1

9:58pm Wed 30 Apr 14

irwell1 says...

mr.mark.c wrote:
I notice the photo of the so called Birch Road playing field cuts off the childrens centre, incidently there was a park there until they removed it, and then they built the centre even though there was a petition with lots of signitures againsts it, Oh and they planted trees where the park once stood.
Have a look at the YouTube video that shows exactly what you describe, type in 'Kearsley Dismantle' in the search field. There are pictures of the protest before they built on it about half way through.
[quote][p][bold]mr.mark.c[/bold] wrote: I notice the photo of the so called Birch Road playing field cuts off the childrens centre, incidently there was a park there until they removed it, and then they built the centre even though there was a petition with lots of signitures againsts it, Oh and they planted trees where the park once stood.[/p][/quote]Have a look at the YouTube video that shows exactly what you describe, type in 'Kearsley Dismantle' in the search field. There are pictures of the protest before they built on it about half way through. irwell1
  • Score: 0

11:32pm Wed 30 Apr 14

mr.mark.c says...

I wonder if the council use google as a reference rather that go and look.
This is the google satellite image for South Ave.
http://goo.gl/maps/5
MA4U
I wonder if the council use google as a reference rather that go and look. This is the google satellite image for South Ave. http://goo.gl/maps/5 MA4U mr.mark.c
  • Score: 0

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