Local sports clubs have been given extra time after the National Trust agreed to allow them to remain on the Shugborough Estate, rather than lose their home pitches.
The changes come after Staffordshire County Council surrendered their lease of Shugborough 49 years early, in a deal to save them £35 million.
The Trust’s initial plan had been to end non-traditional uses of the parkland with immediate effect, and return the Grade I Listed parkland to its former glory. However, after meeting with Colwich Parish Council and listening to the local community’s concerns it has now been agreed that the Great Haywood Football Club, Berkswich Football Club and Milford Cricket Club can continue to use the land at Shugborough for another season.
Ben Shipston, Assistant Director Operations for the National Trust, said: “We have listened to the local community, and are pleased to have reached a compromise whereby the local football and cricket teams can continue to use Shugborough next season. The teams have reassured us that this extension gives them the extra time they need to find a new location.”
Cllr Andy Cooper, Chair of Colwich Parish Council, was very pleased with the way things have turned out: “Colwich Parish Council and our local teams heard about the changes rather late in the process, which wasn’t giving the team time to find a new home ground in time to register for the next season. This gave the prospect of them having to fold after over 40 years of existence.
“After a positive and informative discussion with the Trust’s management we have a new agreement in place that now means the team have got the opportunity to plan for the future.”
Ben Walters, from Great Haywood Football Club, added: “We’re extremely grateful to the National Trust for working with Great Haywood FC and the wider community to compromise on the use of the land; by using Shugborough as our ‘home’ for one further season it will allow us to source a long-term alternative home pitch.”
David Smith, from Milford Cricket Club, said: “We are delighted to have reached a compromise over the pitches. It’s fantastic that we can play at Shugborough next season, which gives us the time to find alternative grounds.”
Keith Halliday, from Berkswich Football Club, added: “Whilst not wanting to lose such a practical and beautiful setting for our junior teams, we thank the National Trust for working with our Club to ensure that our older team can play at Shugborough for one more season. This extension will give Berkswich time to find an alternative site in our local community.”