Fury at club’s playing field ban

Fences have been put up around football pitches at Little Lane

Fences have been put up around football pitches at Little Lane

A dispute has broken out between a Wigan amateur football club and neighbouring residents over access to its playing fields.

Fences and warning signs have been placed around the pitches on Little Lane after the town hall granted Winstanley Warriors permission to restrict access due to nuisance behaviour.

But the decision has been slated by residents who claim they are being denied the use of a previously open-for-all recreation area.

The playing fields in Goose Green were donated to the council on the condition they remained open access, they claim.

Club chairman Shaun Rotherham said the move was justified because of the level of anti-social behaviour seen at the site in recent years.

He said: “We have had a number of problems with dog mess left on the pitches, vandalism to the clubhouse and equipment, graffiti and we even had needles left from drug users.

“We are providing facilities for 300 kids each weekend and the community is proud of what we’re building here.”

The club recently received approval to transform one of its pitches with an artificial surface supported by floodlights.

And its grass pitches have benefitted from thousands of pounds worth of grants in recent years.

Mr Rotherham added: “I am not for one minute suggesting there are not responsible dog owners out there who clean up after their pets but it appears the few is tarnishing the many.

“But it’s funny how whenever we have spoken to people walking their dogs across the fields it is never them causing the problems but someone else.

“I’m sure if some of the more responsible owners grouped together we would be prepared to talk to them and find a compromise.”

One resident, who asked not the be named, told the Evening Post: “Children have been playing on those pitches for years and now, without warning, we’re being told no-one is allowed on there and there’s nothing we can do about it.”