Petition to save Sheffield sports club receives nearly 1,000 signatures in two weeks

A petition has been launched by a Sheffield sport and social club to secure its long term future.

The Sheffield Works Department Sport and Social Club (SWDSSC) started an online petition to get the 5,000 signatures needed to trigger a full council meeting to discuss the ownership of the Olive Grove site.

SWDSSC said they wanted the council, who currently own the land rights, to grant them a long lease or transfer the ownership of the land to the social club.

Peter Sutton, committee member of SWDSSC and Sheffield Centralians Cricket Club, said: “We launched the petition because we felt it was appropriate as things dragged on and on.”

He said nothing had happened since the sport and social club had been assured by the council a lease would go through in Olive Grove’s name so they had decided to bring the matter to the public.

Mr Sutton said: “The site is extremely important, it’s a ready-made base for cricket, everything could do with an update but once it’s done up it will look nice and smart.”

Peter Sutton, playing for Sheffield Centralians Cricket Club

Olive Grove has been home to 20 football teams, eight cricket teams and other organisations, including Sheffield Centralians Cricket Club, AFC Norton Woodseats, and the Sheffield City Knights Project.

Sheffield FC, the oldest football club in the world, have chosen the site as their ideal location for a return to the city centre from their current base in Dronfield. The football club have chosen the Olive Grove site, just off Heeley Bank Road, as it is the closest available space to the field where football was first played, on the site of the Olive Grove Bus Depot.

Chairman of SWDSSC, Bob Hughes, said: “Since 2007 we have been trying to get either ownership of the land or a lease for the land.”

Mr Hughes added the site has been occupied by the social club, although under different names, since 1928.

He said the club cannot apply for grants and funding to improve the facilities before it has secured its rights to the land.

On the petition, launched on change.org, the SWDSSC said: “Because of recent events we have struggled to our 91st year of business, and we are determined to reach our hundredth.”

Sheffield FC and Sheffield City Council have not responded to invitations for comment.

 

Sonia Twigg

MA Journalism, Sheffield University @sonia_255