Move out of Hitchin? That’s not in our game plan, say senior clubs

Lucas Lane

Lucas Lane - Credit: Archant

Leading Hitchin sporting clubs have emphatically stated they have no plans to move to a proposed new home off the A602 if the redevelopment of Top Field goes ahead.

Lucas Lane

Lucas Lane - Credit: Archant

The Cow Commoners Trust, which has put forward plans to redevelop Hitchin Town’s historic ground and create new modern sports facilities for the community on the edge of town, says that its scheme has been warmly welcomed by key clubs.

But a spokesman for Hitchin Rugby Club told the Comet: “We have been talking to the council, and are in negotiations concerning a long lease.

“We can state categorically we have no intention of leaving the King George V playing fields – and are in fact going to redevelop our changing rooms in April subject to the lease being completed.”

And a statement from clubs based in Lucas Lane said: “Blueharts Hockey Club and Hitchin Cricket Club are jointly progressing plans to modernise our sports facilities by building an artificial pitch and new clubhouse at Lucas Lane. We want to safeguard our site for sport in Hitchin and have no plans to relocate.”

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The Cow Commoners say they have a duty to provide sports facilities which benefit the general public, rather than acting just as the football club’s landlord.

But Hitchin Town chief executive Andy Melvin said: “How can they say that’s their purpose when 1,500 people took to the streets of Hitchin before Christmas to protest against the biggest land deal in the history of the town – a deal which no-one wants, done behind closed doors with no public consultation?

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“The fact no Hitchin sports clubs have any intention of moving means the Cow Commoners are left with a white elephant on their hands if the deal goes through.

“They’re not fit for purpose. We want them to resign.”

The Canaries fight has reached former England and Arsenal footballer Sol Campbell who is supporting the campaign.

He told the Comet: “Grass-roots football is important. Good luck to everyone associated with Hitchin Town in their fight.”

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