Hitchin cricket and hockey clubs all set for new ground after land deal
PUBLISHED: 06:57 02 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:02 05 February 2018
Hitchin’s cricket and hockey players are a step closer to new 21st-century facilities after a deal was struck to sell a strip of land off for housing.
Hitchin Town Cricket Ground Ltd, which runs the site off Lucas Lane that is the base of Hitchin Cricket Club and Blueharts Hockey Club, has concluded the land sale to CALA Homes – which intends to build 27 houses on it.
The proceeds of the deal will fund an all-weather pitch, a new clubhouse and improvements to the cricket ground, as well as two new football pitches at Walsworth Common.
Hitchin Town Cricket Ground Ltd chairman James Wright said: “We have achieved a pivotal milestone in the history of both clubs, as we finally can bring to life our aspiration of providing first-class sporting facilities at Lucas Lane.
“Without this project we faced the very real possibility of having to leave our home. We have now secured the future of the Lucas Lane sports ground and our members and the community will be able to enjoy the new facilities for many years to come.
“It has been a dream 20 years in the making – since competitive hockey was first required to be played on artificial pitches – to bring hockey back to Lucas Lane, and we are hugely grateful for the efforts of those who have worked tirelessly to make this dream a reality.
“This achievement reflects many years of hard work to propose a balanced and considered scheme which will create a lasting sporting legacy for Hitchin and ensure the long-term future of our clubs.”
Contractors Morgan Sindall have now begun work on developing the new sports facilities, and expect to have them completed by Christmas.
CALA Homes is proposed to build 27 homes on the land, in a scheme that already has outline planning permission. Subject to its reserved matters application being approved, CALA hopes to start on site in August.
Members of Blueharts and Hitchin Cricket Club have bid a fond farewell to the old clubhouse, which was their home for more than 70 years.
While the new all-weather pitch and clubhouse are built, Blueharts will continue to play home games at the Hitchin Boys’ School pitch. Hitchin Cricket Club will continue to use the cricket grounds, and Wymondley Park Youth FC will go on using the lower cricket ground.