Calls to reopen Wolverhampton playing fields for public use

A campaign to bring football fields back into community use has been backed by a Black Country MP.

MP Jane Stevenson has backed a campaign for former football pitches to be opened up for public use
MP Jane Stevenson has backed a campaign for former football pitches to be opened up for public use

Wolverhampton North East MP Jane Stevenson has joined the call by residents in Wednesfield for two football pitches to be reopened for community use.

The fields on Prestwood Road West, as well as the clubhouse on site, are owned by Wolverhampton Council and were leased to the former Wolverhampton United team.

However the lease ended due to financial difficulties and Wolverhampton United folding in 2017, and the fields have been unused since then.

Local community activists such as the Wednesfield branch of the Royal British Legion have since started a campaign for Wolverhampton council to lease out the fields again for the community to make use of.

Jane Stevenson said the easing of lockdown restrictions meant now was as good as time as any to breathe new life into the fields to allow local people to enjoy them again.

She said: "The value and importance of outdoor sporting activities cannot be overestimated, and so I am very keen to see these football pitches put back into community use.

"I know there are a number of interested parties who have plans to form a number of teams for different age groups.

"I am particularly keen to see more opportunities for young children to participate in sports, so I urge Wolverhampton Council to work with local stakeholders on securing a new lease for the site without delay."

The Wednesfield Royal British Legion are looking at the fields as a new facility for their football teams, with more than 200 children training and eight children's and one adult team.

Ray Giles, Secretary of Wednesfield British Legion, spoke about the disrepair the fields and clubhouse had fallen into and what it would mean for the Legion to be able to access the fields.

He said: "The grass has grown to nearly three or four foot long and the nets are still up on the goalposts, while the clubhouse has been vandalised to the point where it's unworkable.

"We don't want to make a profit out of this as we are a non-profit organisation, but it would mean so much to all the people who play for our adult and youth football teams.

"It would mean those who wear the RBL badge proudly on their chest would actually have somewhere to play, rather than having to play over parks and whatever they can find.

"The teams need a base and we have said that this wouldn't stop at just football, but we would use it for other community facilities to give people in Wednesfield a safe place to go."

A Wolverhampton Council spokesman said: "The council has been approached by a number of interested parties who have expressed an interest in leasing the playing fields on Prestwood Road West following the termination of the previous lease arrangement.

"The Council is currently exploring options for its future use and are fully supportive of the playing fields continuing for use by the local and wider community.

"This is subject to a viable business case being put forward which will demonstrate the value and benefits it will deliver to the community.

"Any expressions of interest will need to take into account that, unfortunately, the buildings are beyond economic repair and therefore require demolition."

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