Football games may be cancelled as travellers move in

Travellers have moved on to the Penwortham Holme recreation ground
Travellers have moved on to the Penwortham Holme recreation ground

Saturday football games in Penwortham are unlikely to go ahead after a group of travellers moved on to the playing fields.

More than 200 young footballers in under 7s and under 8s games in South Ribble are likely to be affected.
The large group of travellers arrived on the Penwortham Holme recreation ground on Wednesday.
Around 20 caravans are camped on the site – a popular venue for Saturday and Sunday amateur football games – and the council says they are unlikely to be gone by the weekend.
Even if the travellers tomorrow, it is feared the pitches might not be in any fit condition for matches to go ahead.
Dave Tynan, manager of the Penwortham St Teresa’s under 18s team, explained: “Saturday is what’s called ‘central venue’, all the teams play down there, every single junior team in this area.
“This effects the under sevens and under eights.
“There are over 200 kids every Saturday morning. Even next Saturday they might be struggling.”
He added: “We had the exact same problems last season when they came on during the summer.
“It’s just a massive inconvenience for the kids and the league who have to mark all the pitches out as well.”
He said his team plays on All Hallows field and that previously when travellers had left Penwortham Holme they moved onto All Hallows.
He said concrete blocks had been placed there now to stop the travellers getting onto the ground.
Mr Tynan said he was “a little miffed” that South Ribble Borough Council had not had the foresight to take action at Penwortham Holme, given that the travellers had already been in Lostock Hall and would likely target the recreation ground again after being moved from there.
He said he understood the travellers had been churning the recreation ground up with their vehicles.
“I think they’ll only go at the last minute,” said Mr Tynan, who said not being able to play football would be a big disappointment for the youngsters.
“Especially the under sevens, because it’s the first ever time they’ve been playing. =
“They’re as keen as mustard.”
Councillor Graham Walton, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Street Scene at South Ribble council said: “As soon as we received reports that Travellers had illegally moved on to the land at Penwortham Holme, we quickly started the necessary proceedings to have them removed.
“Although we are working through the legal process as fast as possible, it is unlikely that sports fixtures planned for the weekend will be able to be played.
“We will assess the damage caused to the pitches by the number of vehicles moving on to the area as soon as the Travellers leave.
“Following similar instances in the past, we erected barriers in an attempt to stop it happening again.
“However, these have been breached and we are now looking at installing more definitive preventive measures as soon as the site is cleared.”