Land deal nets bright future for Burnley village's popular recreation ground

(Left to right) Jade Taylor, of Fulledge Colts, Tom Manson, of Ingham and Yorke, Peregrine Towneley, Simon England, of Harrison Drury and Ian McKay, of Fulledge Colts
(Left to right) Jade Taylor, of Fulledge Colts, Tom Manson, of Ingham and Yorke, Peregrine Towneley, Simon England, of Harrison Drury and Ian McKay, of Fulledge Colts

The future of a popular green space in a Burnley village has been secured for another quarter of a century after a new long-term lease was agreed.

Residents and youngsters from local football club Fulledge Colts are among those who will benefit from the 25-year lease agreed between The Worsthorne Estate and Burnley Borough Council for the six acres of land at Worsthorne Recreation Ground.

The deal enables significant investment in the green space to go ahead. As well as the creation of new football pitches on site, a new multi-sports court and outdoor fitness equipment will be installed.

An existing footpath and cycle track around the perimeter of the recreation ground will also be upgraded.

Under the lease, the council has sub-let part of the land to Fulledge Colts to use for home matches during the season.

Earlier this year, the club received a six-figure grant from the Premier League and The FA Facilities Fund to improve facilities. Burnley Council is jointly subsidising the development and the club has also contributed through its own funds.

Lancashire-based law firm Harrison Drury acted as legal advisors to the Worsthorne Estate on the lease agreement. The team was led by director Simon England and trainee legal executive Jackie Bate.

Simon England, head of Harrison Drury’s property team, said: “It’s been a pleasure working with the Worsthorne Estate and the council to help safeguard the future of this important community asset. It not only provides a local youth football club with stability for many years to come but sees significant investment in this valuable green space for the benefit of the wider community.”

Tom Manson, of Ingham & Yorke, agent to the Worsthorne Estate, said: “This site has been a recreation ground for decades, enjoyed by many generations of this community. It is very gratifying that we have been able to work in partnership to protect it for this generation and beyond."

Simon Goff, head of green spaces at Burnley Borough Council, added: “Access to green space for recreational use is vital to the well-being of communities. Having secured the long lease of Worsthorne Recreation Ground, we can now focus on making improvements that will benefit the whole community for years to come.”

Ian McKay, vice chairman of Fulledge Colts Youth Football Club, said: “Getting certainty on the future of the land was the final piece of the jigsaw and means the funding we’ve secured can now be put to good use. The day the lease was signed was probably the biggest day in our club’s history.

“We give huge thanks to all those who’ve played their part in making this happen. It will give us the facilities to take the club to the next level and, who knows, one day we might see some of our players turning out for the Clarets in the Premier League.”

The improvement work starts on site in March 2020, initially to improve the drainage of the land to create an 11-a-side youth pitch plus three junior pitches. New facilities at the ground will also include a clubhouse, changing rooms and two car parks with improved vehicle access.

Fulledge Colts Youth Football Club is one of the area’s leading grassroots teams with more than 370 children playing in 32 teams.

The Worsthorne Estate is owned by Sir Simon Towneley KCVO. Sir Simon was appointed High Sheriff of Lancashire in 1971 and served as Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire from 1976 to 1996. He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 1994.