Plans submitted for football pitches in Leyburn

The location of the proposed football pitches marked in red.

A junior football club has submitted a proposal to create two pitches on farmland.

Leyburn United Junior Football Club has sent in plans to Richmondshire District Council to create two pitches and car parking north of the town, off Yarker Bank Lane.

The proposal has the support of North Yorkshire County councillor for Leyburn, Karin Sedgwick, who has used her discretionary budget to help the club fund the application.

She said while the town did have badminton and squash clubs, volunteers behind the proposal had “hit a brick wall when it came to finding grounds where football teams could play”.

The club’s chairman Chris Ellis said the offer of use of a field at Yarker Bank from the area’s biggest employers, Metcalfe Farms, represented a great opportunity.

Mr Ellis said: “Leyburn is lacking in community recreational spaces and we see the chance to create some sports facilities on the edge of the town, and near a site earmarked for housing development, as too good an opportunity to turn down.”

He said the proposal followed the club growing rapidly in recent years, with around 100 young people regularly playing matches and training last season.

He said: “This coming season, we will have seven teams competing in leagues across the region. We have also recently become a Wildcats Centre — an initiative launched by the FA to develop girls football — and will have a girls team competing in a league for the first time next season.

“We currently train and play home matches at the Wensleydale School and we are very grateful for their support and intend to continue using the excellent facilities at the school, but to have a space we could call home would be a great asset to the club as it looks to grow further.”

The proposed pitches, which are close to the site of a controversial proposed housing estate, have already attracted questions over vehicle access.

Councillor Sedgwick said she was optimistic a suitable entry road to the pitches could be found, even if some residents objected to it.

She added: “If the access is deemed suitable by highways officers, there’s no reason why the proposed pitches can’t go ahead.”