A transfer of ownership from a trust under the auspices of the Todmorden Civic Society (TCS) to the Upper Calder Valley Renaissance (UCVR) should secure the future of Bellholme Sports Ground at Walsden, it is hoped.
The ownership had been in limbo after all the members of the TCS trust had sadly passed away in recent years.
TCS chair, Darren Midgley, explained that the land could potentially have been lost in a legal quagmire, “possibly ending up in the hands of the treasury or even perhaps a property developer.”
Current TCS members did not have the capacity to manage it, or establish a new trust and so resolved to offer it to the UCVR to manage and develop, as UCVR had the wider community’s interests at the centre of all its activities, said Darren, adding that TCS would still have a role to play.
“TCS have agreed to maintain a management interest going forward as we need to ensure that the original vision for a ‘sports facility for all’ is eventually realised,” he said.
Bellholme is the home ground of Todmorden Borough FC, who play in the East Lancashire Football League.
Stephen Curry, chair of UCVR, said it was an exciting project and were looking to work collaboratively with the existing users of the ground and the rest of the local sporting community to enhance the facilities as much as possible while maintaining quality pitch standards.
“We are fully conscious of the efforts and tenacity of the founders of Bellholme Sports Ground who fought to secure it from construction and development in the 1980s, and also of their vision for a sporting venue of mixed use.
“We believe that the time is right for that vision to be revisited.
“We are looking to work collaboratively with the current users and the rest of the local sporting community to enhance the use of facilities to meet as much demand as possible whilst maintaining quality pitch standards,” he said.
Stephen said there are both limitations on the pitch use but also many opportunities for wider use of the site.
Provision had already been made for junior football teams to use the facilities in the coming season.
The UCVR aims to establish a sports development advisory forum drawn from local sports clubs.
Any club officials wishing to participate in this forum should contact the UCVR by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 01422 417286.