Secondary school in Pennine region could be built on popular playing fields

Date published: 13 June 2018

A potential new secondary school could be built on playing fields in the Pennine region of the borough.

The possibility of a new school was discussed behind closed doors at the Pennine Township Committee on Tuesday (12 June) – after press and public were excluded.

Both Rutherford Park, where 200 members of Wardle FC train, and Littleborough playing fields are understood to be up for consideration.

Chairman of Wardle FC, Rik Fielding, said: “We have discussed the possibility of losing Rutherford park to the building of a new high school with our committee.

“We all agree there is the need for a new high school in the Pennine township area but we believe that grassroots right thought to open-age footballing is needed in the local area of Wardle village.

“Wardle Football Club has been in the village for over 160 years and we hope it will still be around in another 160 years.

“We have worked hard over the last eight years, adding grassroots football to our club and in the last two years, a Sunday morning football team.

“We have been in discussions with Rochdale Council over these eight years about new facilities at Rutherford park and expanding to other satellite pitches in the local postcode to cope with our ever-growing teams.

“We have attended four meetings in the last six months and have never been given any thoughts that all our ideas and plans were just a dream that was never going to happen.

“Only last week, we received an email from the council where we were give the hope that our first phase of these dreams was going to happen this year with a new open-age football pitch being constructed on the site of Rutherford park and that the work was being tendered out with a closing date of 27 June 2018.

“Whilst we all agree that the current issues regarding a lack of secondary places needs to be urgently addressed, it is our strong opinion that Rutherford Park, given its tremendous history and setting, needs to stay as a place of football and recreation.

“There are better locations around the Pennine area which would serve the community better.”

A spokesperson for the council said: “The council is currently exploring potential sites in the north Pennines area, as there is a need for places, but no decision has as yet been taken.”

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