A ROW has erupted over access to a playing field in Wigan.
Residents living near to Hindley Town Football Club, in Kildare Street, were dismayed to discover the organisation’s owners had erected a fence blocking off entry to the land, which is leased by Wigan Council.
Club bosses say the field was enclosed as a duty of care after football players complained about dog mess and broken glass on the grass.
But locals living nearby, who could previously access the land via a stile and footpath, complained they could not enter the field. Then locks on the gates were glued to prevent club members getting onto the pitches and some of the fencing was knocked down.
Now 84-year-old Irene Wright, who lives in Liverpool Road, has had enough of the arguing and plans to organise a petition to remove the fence and allow access. She said: “A lot of people, including myself, use that field to walk their dogs and I was always careful to remove any mess.
“I can understand footballers not wanting to fall over on the mess, but this is over the top.
“The club has put two fences to block the field, but I do know some people have knocked them down.
“From Liverpool Road, we can’t get through as there is a big gate with bolts.
“Children used to use the path to get to St Peter’s C of E Primary School, but now they will have to go around the main road.
“The council has leased this land without allowing access for people.”
A spokesman for the football club declined to give an official comment but said that he was in talks with Coun Jim Ellis and with the council’s land and property teams to come up with a solution.
Martin Wright, Wigan Council’s head of assets, said: “Prior to granting the lease it was established that no public rights of way existed across the land and the lease grants exclusive possession to the club.
“The club is anxious to protect players, many of whom are children, from damage and dog fouling, which is hazardous.
“We’re working with the club to explore the possibilities of creating a new path around the perimeter.”