Prescot Hockey Club Move to St Helens, Blame Council

By on Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Prescot Hockey Club logoMembers of Prescot Hockey Club have voted unanimously to leave their home of over fifty years, moving to leisure facilities at Sutton Leisure Centre in St Helens.

The team were formed in 1952 as part of the BICC Social Club. Until recently, their home ground was the old BICC Canteen, on Warrington Road, which later became Prescot Leisure Centre. According to PHC Executive Vice President David Johnson, the club’s facilties were unrivalled with the advent of AstroTurf in the 1980s.

new Prescot Leisure CentreThey were forced to vacate the premises in 2011, however, when Prescot Leisure Centre was closed, awaiting demolition and replacement with smaller pitch-side facilities (pictured, left).

In an official statement from Johnson on behalf of the club, PHC said Knowsley Council’s actions had had “a severe impact on members leaving, retiring or drifting away.”

The club said they were never consulted or informed about the changes or delays, which have left them training at St Edmund Arrowsmith School for over 18 months, due to a lack of changing rooms and car parking at the Warrington Road site.

They also said the construction of a five-aside football cage on one pitch meant they could no longer expand or host tournaments on the site. They were never asked for their views, according to the statement, and the announcement was “the final straw.”

St Helens Borough Council have offered the team a “complete sports development package, including school/club links, satellite training sessions, a coaching and umpiring course, and a lot of additional support to the club.”

Prescot Hockey Club praised St Helens for offering up to three training venues and being “thoroughly professional and helpful” in their support.

The club is doing well, with Prescot Ladies First Team winning two league titles this past season. David Johnson assures Prescot Online that “the name stays 100 percent Prescot – we have a reputation to live up to.”

The move takes place in June 2013.

Knowsley Council have not yet responded to requests for comment.

Update (22/05/13): Knowsley Council have responded. They refused to name the spokesperson but issued this statement:

As part of the initial consultation for the new Prescot Community Leisure Centre all users of the facility were consulted and updated on the plans.

Following consultation with the Hockey Club, we helped to facilitate their relocation to St Edmund Arrowsmith Centre for Learning and, as part of this relocation, offered support and a flexible approach to assist them to train and have their matches at the new site.

During the catch up meetings with the main contact and organiser for the Club, we have understood that the Club is generally happy with the pitch facilities at the Centre for Learning, and proposed to stay there longer-term. Consequently the discussions did not include the Prescot Community Leisure facility as the Club indicated their home was now at the Centre for Learning. We understand from the Club that there are some aspects that could be further improved at SEA, such as storage and improved pitch markings, but that the pitch quality and venue was generally good for them.

There was a delay with the construction of the new facilities at Warrington Road due to alternative funding opportunities being explored. Work is now well underway on the site and the new pitches will be open in July and the leisure facility in October.

If there are other ways that we can support the Club to develop and grow in Knowsley, or if there are further things that can be improved at the Centre for Learning, then we would welcome the discussion with the Club.

9 Comments

  1. Jacquie

    Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 8:55 am

    It seems Knowsley Council will be constructing the new facilities and they will end up being totally unsuitable…for Prescot Hockey Club at the very least.

    Apart from business premises laying vacant in our once busy town centre… now the new sports facility looks to be a bit of a white elephant for local sport.

    Sad that St. Helens Council has been able to offer provision to the Prescot Hockey Club, thus making this club St. Helens bound.

  2. Hockey Club member

    Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Yes, initially we were consulted and from the 4 options put forward everyone (5 aside users,Higherside boxing, local residents and leisure centre staff) all wanted a refurbished clubhouse with onsite facilities.
    What did Knowsley do – ignore that minor inconvenience and knocked it down anyway!!
    So much for ‘democracy’ eh?

    Knowsley have had numerous opportunities to talk to the Club, help them, implement OUR ideas for over 20 years. Not since the late 1980s have KMBC done anything of note for Prescot Hockey Club.
    Fortunately, Prescot Hockey Club have been around a long time and we pre-date Knowsley by 20 years and we will continue as Prescot Hockey Club long after ‘Brand Knowsley’ has been abolished.

    The decision to quit OUR OWN TOWN was not easy but when you have a Sports Development team in St Helens offering high quality services, opportunities for expansion and a strategic plan why would we want to stay with the muppets we currently have?
    Prescot Hockey Club wanted a club house at warrington road, we wanted a hub for hockey for the whole borough, we offered free junior coaching for everyone at our time and expense…
    We are current double champions of Greater Manchester, we play and represent the Town all over the UK and across the North West, we are a massively respected Club and founder members of the Lancashire League and North West Hockey League. We’ve been awarded England Hockey Clubmark status, Hosted Great Britain matches and been Merseyside Sports Club of the Year.

    Knowsley’s input: yeah, whatever – just pay on time and you need to be off the pitch by 5pm.

    No Help
    No Support
    No Respect
    No Nothing

    The age of Knowsley IS OVER. It’s time for Prescot and the people who live here to get this shoddy, huyton-centric, waste-of-space borough council shut down and abolished.Then we might just get our Town and pride back.
    We wear the historic Town crest on our shirts for a reason – because we are PRESCOT.

  3. Dave

    Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    “Facilitate their relocation”

    It’s at a school and the pitch is never open on time and its not even owned by the council it’s a Balfour Beattie site.

    “Club indicated this was their home”

    No, KMBC assumed this and then decided to build a shed for facilities, 12 months late and then add a cage to the pitch with zero consultation with the club that has been there 60 years.

    KMBC = Liars from the top down.no surprise that statement is anonymous!

  4. Stephen Nulty

    Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Interesting that their spokesperson says “If there are other ways that we can support the Club to develop and grow in Knowsley, ”

    Whet happened to “develop and grow in Prescot”, the home of the club.

    The usual disgraceful response, typical and not unexpected from KMBC

  5. David Williams

    Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    I’m afraid Prescot Hockey Club have suffered like Prescot Cables Football Club at the hands of Knowsley Council. Our Hope Street ground was sold by Knowsley and then sold on to a Developer for Housing only for the Developer to discover that they would have to find us another Stadium, so thanks to the Council we are having to pay £25,000. per year to rent our own ground. We are still in the Town though after 129 years. We get no help whatsoever from the local authority unlike other teams in our league. The Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.Div 1 North.

    • harry molyneux

      Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      Just to add to Davids comments, every statement is true regarding the councils attitude towards Prescot Cables. they have watched two football clubs go under in recent years Kirby Town and Knowsley United do they want the same thing to happen to Prescot Cables.

  6. harry molyneux

    Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    can you please remove my e mail address

    • admin

      Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 4:55 pm

      Your email address is not visible anywhere on the site, Harry. It’s only visible to you and the site administrator (me). Cheers,

      Dave

  7. Pingback: Prescot Leisure Facility Set for October Opening | Prescot Online

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