What is being done to tackle Calderdale's poor sport facilities and playing fields

Snow and mud covered football pitch at Luddendenfoot
Snow and mud covered football pitch at Luddendenfoot

Calderdale Council says it is doing all it can to tackle the problem of poor pitches and facilities for local amateur footballers.

Players and managers at grassroots level in Calderdale say the state of grass and changing rooms is unacceptable at some locations, and could end up putting people off playing.

Shelf United manager John Lister said: “We played at Shroggs Park recently and the pitch was a disgrace. I’ve heard that Northowram Rec is pretty bad too. There’s just been no preparation for the start of the season, nothing has been done.

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“That’s why we moved to a 3G pitch at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe Academy, otherwise you have a backlog of fixtures in December and January.”

Sunday League side Waiters Arms use a private pitch at Trinity Academy. Their manager Adam Fenton said: “We took that decision as the council facilities, especially the changing rooms, were beyond repair and you left dirtier after you’d showered in some of them. Shroggs Park and Savile Park changing rooms were especially bad and usually ran cold water out.”

Luke Simmonds, who plays for Salem FC on Saturdays, said: “There are a lot of pitches in a poor state, full of holes or the grass is too long. When it rains there are so many games called off. I want to see some funding to get the pitches improved, properly cut and marked out, just basic things. There’s a lot of annoyed people out there.”

Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for communities and neighbourhood services, Coun Susan Press, said: “We do all we can within existing budgets to ensure pitches are well maintained, and work has taken place at sites including Illingworth Sports and Social Club and Tar Hill where the council, working with Crossley’s Juniors FC and Illingworth RLFC, has received funding from Sport England and The Football Foundation to invest almost £160,000 in the football and rugby pitches.

“We are also supporting local teams to take on long term leases of pitches and facilities so they can access external funding to improve the facilities.

“We’re aware some facilities require improvement and we’re developing a local football facilities plan to identify sites that would most benefit from improvement works and potential investment.

"We’re also working on a potential pitch improvement pilot and developing proposals for new 3G artificial pitches with training and playing venues, to take pressure off the grass pitches. We know how important it is to have quality sports facilities and by investing in pitches we hope to encourage participation in sports.”