Sandylands Sports centre bids to save LMS football ground

Roger Beck, of the Coulthurst Craven Sports Centre Management Committee

Roger Beck, of the Coulthurst Craven Sports Centre Management Committee

First published in News

Skipton’s Sandylands Sports Centre is to make a bid to save LMS Football club ground for the sporting community of Craven.

The ground was put up for sale last month, sparking a furore.

But, following a meeting on Monday, the centre’s management committee said it had enough support from local organisations and individuals to make a bid for the 3.3 acre site next to Sandylands.

The sealed bid, of an undisclosed amount, will now be submitted to selling agents, Westlake and Co, before tomorrow’s 5pm deadline.

It is believed the highest bid will be successful and an announcement will be made on Monday.

Roger Beck, a long-term member of the charitable Coulthurst Craven Sports Centre Management Committee, said if the bid was successful, the ground would be leased back to the LMS Club and the ground would always remain a playing field.

“It was a unanimous decision that a bid be submitted, with public donations from local businesses and organisations. It is tremendous that we have had such support,” he said.

Westlakes is selling the land on behalf of Skipton LMS Social Club and Social Club and has indicated a price of around £30,000.

But around 30 expressions of interest have been made in the site and, because the sale is by sealed bids, it is difficult for potential buyers to know how much to offer.

“We are in the lap of the gods, we will submit it on Friday and hopefully we will be successful and secure this valuable playing field for Craven’s sporting community,” said Mr Beck.

Skipton councillor Robert Heseltine, said Monday’s meeting was well attended by enthusiastic people keen to save the ground.

“It is to be hoped that the trustees of the LMS Sports Club, whose decision it will be, will have the best interests of the LMS Football Club at heart,” he said.

At this week’s Craven District Council’s planning committee, Mr Beck was given assurances that the playing field, which is being marketed as suitable for D2 “assembly and leisure” use should remain as a playing field.

“It is extremely important to the sporting community in Craven that this land be retained as a playing field and we wish to ensure that its planning status is clarified,” he said.

Mr Beck was told there had been no recent planning applications submitted for the site, it was classed as a sports field and any change of use would have to be approved by Sport England. An objection by Sport England would mean the application would have to go to the Secretary of State.

A spokesman for Westlakes confirmed that the closing time for bids would be 5pm tomorrow and in this case it was likely that the highest bid would be accepted.

Bids will be opened at 10am on Monday and it is expected bidders will be informed shortly afterwards.

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