MOTHBALLED playing fields may soon be back in use if a £200,000 match funding bid through the Football Association is successful.
The Thomas Galvin Playing Fields – known as Abbey Lane – have been out of use due to drainage issues since February last year.
In November, the site was mothballed after a report estimated the required work would cost in excess of £200,000. It left hundreds of young footballers, archers and cricketers without pitches to play on.
But the Advertiser can now reveal a proposed bid deal between the council, Burscough Juniors FC and Liverpool County FA could bring the site back into use.
On Wednesday, the council earmarked £100,000 out of its budget for 2013/14 for drainage work on the fields.
This will pave the way for Burscough JFC – which uses the pitches – to bid for a Football Foundation large facilities match-funding grant through Liverpool County FA.
The grant schemes supports grass and artificial pitch projects for community benefit.
But the deal would hinge on the council agreeing to a long-term lease of the playing fields to Burscough JFC.
The club would then hire out pitches to the likes of Nethermoss Archers and cricket teams in the summer season.
Alice Watson, Liverpool County FA’s development manager, said: “We’ve been working on the possibility of a bid with Burscough JFC. We want to protect grass facilities for the use of football and Abbey Lane is a fantastic site – the facilities are really good, it’s only the drainage that needs doing.
“It’s great to hear the council has made that much available. Now we know what they are putting forward the next step is for Burscough JFC to put in an expression of interest, with our support.”
Elliot Cosgrove, chairman of Burscough JFC, said if all goes to plan the pitches could be back in use by the end of the summer.
He said: “We’re delighted the council has put this money forward. If the bid is successful it would be unbelievable. This could see all six pitches back in use and benefit hundreds of young players. We met with the council, parish council and the FA and everyone seemed keen on this moving forward.”
A council spokesman said discussions were under way over of Abbey Lane’s long-term future, and were still at an early stage.
But he confirmed the funding “will be used to attract external funding to help bring the pitches back into use”.
MP Rosie Cooper said: “I am delighted for Burscough Juniors that this funding has been committed, bringing them one step closer to being able to take over the running of the playing fields.”