Row over plans for new football pitch in Wickham

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Residents in Wickham have hit out at a parish council for wanting to build a 3G football pitch, fearing it could be used for Wessex league games.

A public meeting held between Wickham Parish Council and residents was arranged on Tuesday to dispel rumours that the proposed 3G pitch on Mill Lane could be used for Wessex league competition matches.

The parish council has denied such speculations, stating the pitch will be used primarily as a training facility for youth teams.

Nic Holladay, acting chair of the Wickham residents’ association, said: ‘The controversy still remains about the pitch and what it will be used for.

‘If it was for local people only it would be ok, but I don’t think people are going to accept that it should be used for teams as far away as Southampton and goodness knows where else.

‘The playing surface itself within the white lines of the pitch itself I think will be fit for Wessex league games.

‘The business plan may well demonstrate that they cannot make it financially viable – unless they allow Wessex league teams to play there and will pay a higher fee for doing so.’

The standardised rules for playing surfaces in the Wessex league state that competition games must be played on either a grass pitch or a football turf pitch.

For competition use, a football turf pitch must meet the design and specifications capable of attaining a FIFA recommended one star certificate.

Nicki Oliver, Wickham Parish Council clerk said: ‘There are no proposals for a stadium, there never has been, we tried to lay that rumour to rest.

‘It’s not a Wessex league standard facility – we’ve got a 3G training pitch and we expect the use to be similar to that.

‘We’re aiming to provide training and match facilities for girls and boys of all ages as well as a small number of adult teams.’

After a public consultation phase, the parish council will submit a planning application to Winchester City Council.

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