Decision time for sports club’s £2.8 million scheme

The launch: an Osca Foundation meeting at Forest Cottage Community Centre, Ovenden in February
The launch: an Osca Foundation meeting at Forest Cottage Community Centre, Ovenden in February
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SPORTS fans who have spent years formulating plans for a multi-million pound arena in North Halifax will next week learn whether they can use council land in return for a peppercorn rent.

The Ovenden Sport and Community Arena Foundation (Osca) wants to take over the Four Fields site to provide sport pitches, multi-activity games areas, a function room and clubhouse, changing rooms and stores at a cost of about £2.8 million.

Their proposal has been recommended for approval by Calderdale Council Cabinet when it meets on Monday.

The land off Cousin Lane is currently leased to Ovenden Amateur Rugby League Football Club, which maintains two pitches and changing rooms.

The club is one of the Osca partners – the others being Ovenden West Riding Football Club, St Columbus Junior Football Club and CreativeiAdventures, plus Halifax RLFC and Calderdale Community Coaching Trust.

In a report to the cabinet, communities director Robin Tuddenham says the council can expect to lose about £1,250 in ground rent but avoid the £3,000-a-year bill for maintenance, which would pass to Osca.

“Transferring the asset should be seen as a positive for the area and it will support the council and partners in their ambitions, especially in relation to sport participation and health. Giving ownership of the asset to the community provides them with more leverage to draw down funding to develop the site,” said Mr Tuddenham.

The cabinet has been asked to give Osca a 40-year lease to the Four Fields in return for a peppercorn rent.

The plans for the arena include state-of-the-art sports and leisure facilities. Halifax MP Linda Riordan and local councillors have backed the scheme.

Osca chairman Joe Collins said it would be a hard challenge but everyone involved wanted to create a first-class, groundbreaking facility for North Halifax.