Joe sets out his ambitious sporting vision for Heyside

CRICKET club chairman Joe Warburton is keen to revive plans to make Heyside a sporting hub for the community, whether at Little Hey Street or elsewhere.

Joe Warburton

Joe’s vision remains to acquire nearby farmland to create four football pitches – three grass, one artificial – so it could be home for Heyside Juniors and local schools, and possibly even a hockey club.

Heyside, who have 10 cricket teams at adult and junior level, would expand the cricket ground with some of the outfield doubling up as a football pitch.

It is thought the club could also become home to as many as 15 football teams.

The development would also go hand in hand with plans for a new clubhouse incorporating expanded changing facilities and which would cost £300,000.

Joe, a 56-year-old retired police officer, said: “I think it is a good time to move forward our plans.

“We need to sit down with Heyside Juniors to formulate a plan so we can get funding from the English Cricket Board and Football Association.

“It would be brilliant if it came off and great for the community.”

Joe has a vision to acquire nearby farmland to create four football pitches

Joe explained the vision was created a decade ago, and a previous attempt to make the dream become a reality failed when the nearby farmer refused to sell the land.

But he believes the time could be right to try and push forward again in view of the farm land being earmarked for housing in the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.

Joe, a former rugby league professional with Oldham, Carlisle and Mansfield, explained: “In the Framework, the land at Birshaw Farm has been set aside for housing.

“We have met with Oldham Council and, as the farm could be developed for housing, suggested our land may also be included in a future scheme.

“But Oldham Council has not come up with a feasible venue to rehouse us.”

In the worse-case scenario, if Heyside cannot expand at Little Hey Street or move home, they would hope to press ahead with new clubhouse/changing facilities.

They would hope to be able to access section 106 money from the housing scheme – developers usually have to set aside a sum of money to help improve the infrastructure of the area.

Heyside would also try to get funding from the English Cricket Board and Football Association given some of Heyside Juniors’ open-age teams meet and change at the club before walking to games at nearby venues.

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