By Peter Hampshire
A long-standing conflict between Liversedge Football Club, local residents and Kirklees Council is coming to a head, with potential consequences for the club and community.
The 106 year-old West Yorkshire Club face an uncertain future due to access issues on sole entrance Quaker Lane which is stifling development efforts, coupled with a 60 year agreement enforced by the Council.
Liversedge want to build a new facility with a bigger changing room, better women’s facilities and junior soccer pitches. However, this is being held up because of one street, Quaker Lane, which leads to their ground. Liversedge must widen the road in order to build new facilities or face being forced out of the Northern Counties East League Premier Division at the end of this season.
The club has put forward solutions to nearby residents to expand the road, which have been denied due to residents wanting to maintain the “rural character of the lane”.
Kirklees Council says that Quaker Lane, in its current state, is too narrow for two ambulances to pass by.
Relocation and sale of their Clayborn ground is not viable due to an agreement between Kirklees Council and the club that says the grounds sole purpose for the next 60 years will be Liversedge Football activities. This makes the land an unattractive proposition, if it can’t be developed.
Some local residents are concerned about the disruption developments could bring.
Yet not all Quaker Lane residents are against the updates. Ewhen Chymera asks: “It’s the only floodlit pitch in the area. If the club moves what will happen to the land? Will it go to rack and ruin?”
Liversedge Club President Bob Gawthorpe believes Liversedge’s survival is vital for the community. The ground not only hosts Liversedge, but also 250 local children for training and matches. Gawthorpe said: “The club has made a magnificent contribution to society, given freely by big-hearted volunteers. It has reached we feel its end.”
Kirklees Council are yet to respond with comment at the time of publication.