Former The Hospital Road playing fields and changing block
A Burntwood football club is set to take over the running of a public sporting facility in the town. Lichfield District Council’s cabinet will be asked to approve plans for Burntwood Dragons – and its female arm Burntwood Phoenix – to become the new tenants of the Coppynook football pitches and pavilion on Hospital Road. The site is currently jointly owned by the authority and Hammerwich Parish Council. A report by Cllr Ian Smith, cabinet member responsible for leisure, says: “The councils have undertaken an exercise to seek a suitably skilled tenant who will maintain public access to the fields, maintain the grounds and also promote and provide sporting opportunities for local people, but particularly for children and young people, women and girls.”
Former Premier League Alan Wiley at the opening of the new changing block at Hospital Road Playing Fields
The site has been given a makeover in recent years with a new changing block and play area installed following Section 106 and Football Foundation funding. It is currently used by junior and ladies teams from Chasetown FC, as well as Sunday clubs including Burntwood Star, The Swan, Boney Hay and The Nelson. But the council is now looking to instigate a “community asset transfer” of the site to Burntwood Dragons and Burntwood Phoenix in a bid to plug a hole in its finances due to cuts in funding from Government. The Hospital Road Playing Fields site generates £3,520 per year in income from sports club, but the local authority revealed that the cost of maintaining the site is around £16,000 per year. Cllr Smith’s report added: “The Fit for the Future service review has identified one of its objectives as looking to reduce the scale of the council’s estate by transferring assets to appropriate and sustainable voluntary organisations and community groups that are better placed than the council to manage and develop such assets. “Interested clubs were asked to provide their own sporting development plans so that the council can examine the extent of opportunity for local people to play sport.” Should the transfer be approved, the clubs would take on a lease of at least 25 years. Burntwood Dragons currently field junior teams at Burntwood Leisure Centre, Burntwood Memorial Institute and Boney Hay School, while the club’s female arm, Burntwood Phoenix, also play at grounds across the area. Cllr Smith’s report said: “Transferring Hospital Road playing fields will protect it as an area of public open space and will provide a permanent base for a local community spirited football club within the heart of its community. “The club provides significant sporting opportunities for children and young people and for volunteers who act as officials, coaches and drivers.” Lichfield District Council’s cabinet will discuss the proposal at a meeting on Tuesday (June 2).

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.