Group revives bid to safeguard Hitchin Top Field

Pictured is the land which is home to Hitchin FC

Pictured is the land which is home to Hitchin FC - Credit: Archant

A campaign group has been revived in a bid to safeguard the future of land used by Hitchin Town Football Club.

The Save Top Field Campaign was launched in 2012 alongside the Comet’s own campaign when plans were first revealed by developer New Road (Clifton) for a supermarket – believed to be Tesco – to be built at Hitchin Town’s current home in Fishponds Road.

Now the group is calling for more support after similar ideas resurfaced earlier this month with screening applications from New Road sent to North Herts District Council. The preliminary plans include building a leisure facility on Green Belt land opposite Kingshott School.

The Top Field site, which is owned by the Hitchin Cow Commoners Trust and leased to the football club, has a statutory objective to provide the town’s residents with charitable sporting facilities.

Speaking to the Comet, campaign group member Richard Cooper said: “By offering Hitchin Town FC a new home on these facilities the Trust would be doing their duty by their 2006 scheme definition and get rid of the ‘hot potato’ of Top Field ownership.

“They would also pick up the not-for-profit management of the new sports facility. The fly in the ointment is that only by selling Top Field for retail development would New Road generate enough money to make the whole thing viable.”

The group is looking to get more people on board to back the campaign if a formal planning application is submitted to NHDC.

Most Read

Mr Cooper, of York Road, added: “To learn more of the detail and to help the campaign resolve this to the optimum satisfaction of Hitchin residents, the committee is encouraging people to join the campaign and make it genuinely public.

“We need people with passion and enthusiasm, but also patience to commit their time to thinking, discussing, and raising funds to help us campaign together with our allies from the Hitchin civic societies and the football club supporters.

Save Top Field Campaign Committee welcomes the opportunity to reach a larger audience and intends to refresh and expand its supporter base and make the 2014 campaign genuinely public and democratic.

“We believe the threats to St Ippolyts and Top Field, having resurfaced, will now need much more concerted action to defeat them.”

To show your support email or search for Save Top Field Campaign Hitchin on Facebook.

The Hitchin Cow Commoners Trust and Hitchin Town FC were contacted for a comment but the Comet had not received a response at the time of going to press.