Wigan council vow to sort out neglected field

The council will have to sort out a highly-overgrown field previously used by a sports club following criticism of its state by a local resident.

Sunday, 18th August 2019, 12:03 pm
The overgrown field in Ince

The town hall has been informed by a rugby club that it no longer requires a former school field on Hemfield Road in Ince which it was using and maintaining.

That means local authority employees will now have to return the area to a usable state.

The move comes after Patrick Gracey, from Ince, hit out at how wild and uncared-for the field has become.

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Shocking pictures show the grass has become so high that the gate giving access only opens part way.

Coun David Molyneux, Ince ward councillor and leader of Wigan Council, said: “Over the last couple of years, the land has been managed by a local rugby club on behalf of the council and has been used for community rugby purposes.

“After reaching out to the club due to the land being significantly overgrown, we have been made aware that they no longer require use of the land as they have other facilities suited to their needs.

“As a result, the council will now make plans to cut the field back, restoring it to open space that will be available for the whole community to enjoy.”

The sight of the overgrown wilderness has particularly irked Belle Green Lane resident Mr Gracey, who has long links to the area as he originally had an equine therapy centre on a piece of nearby land only to lose his business in a court case over site ownership.

He says he has sent numerous emails to the town hall and approached his ward councillor about the state of the land at the former educational site, but it had all been to no avail.

He also queried how open to the public the land has previously been, even though the council says fields being used by sports clubs counts as community use, as he says access has been restricted.

Mr Gracey said: “The grass is now several feet high and the field is an absolute mess.

“When the grass was cut it was then locked up again so the kids couldn’t get on. Why couldn’t it be left open for them to play football on?

“‘I’ve sent email after email after email to the council. We’ve got nothing in this area.”

However, it now looks like Mr Gracey will get his wish for the site to be more open to the public after the rugby league club told the town hall it now plays and trains elsewhere.