Another sports facility to close in Westfield?

Kingsway West all weather football pitch

Council officials are pressing for the neighbourhoods only Multi User Games Area (MUGA) to be permanently closed

The MUGA is located off Kingsway West and was provided at the same time as the Hob Moor school was rebuilt in 2004. It was hailed as one of the community facilities that the PFI funded new build school would unlock. It proved to be the only causal use facility provided on the campus, with other facilities like the nursery later closing.

Initially the MUGA was to have been located within the school perimeter fence. It would have been secured by caretaking staff when not in use. Following pressure from the PFI contractors the MUGA became a stand-alone facility accessible outside school hours.

It satisfied the demand for “kick about” facilities to the east of Gale Lane.

Initially it was successful with detached youth workers staging events there. However, the then Labour controlled Council shredded the youth service following budget cuts in 2013. The organised use of the MUGA ceased. Calls for the Ward Committee to fund events there failed to get off the ground.

An experiment in leaving the area open resulted in arson damage to the all-weather surface which was never repaired. The service access gate was also damaged and not reinstated by the Council.

It is now little used and often strewn with litter and detritus.

Council consultation card Sept 2018

Yet there is still a demand for play and sports facilities for use by children in the area. The nearest alternative is the Energise (Better) sports centre on Cornlands Road which is run on a commercial basis.

Typically the cost of hiring an all weather pitch for a match is around £50.

Now officials are consulting on replacing the MUGA with other structures. They suggest wooden climbing frames, tree planting and better lighting.

There is a demand for better play facilities in the area but not at the expense of existing sports facilities.

We have already seen the Our Lady’s sports field developed and more recently plans have been approved to build on the football pitch at Lowfields. The Hob Moor school playing field will be reduced in size and an application to build on the Acomb Bowling Green is being considered by the Council.

Officials promised that, as part of the Lowfields scheme, pitches on Chesney’s Field would be levelled and upgraded. But the football season* has started without any sign of improvement.

The Council acknowledge that there is already a deficiency in sports and green space provision in the Westfield area. The Councils own Local Plan identifies the existing shortfalls as 4.98 ha of outdoor sports facilities, 6.02 ha of children’s play and 2.86 ha of young persons facilities.

Life expectancy in the Westfield ward is lower than in other parts of York. This is partly put down to unhealthy lifestyles.

Council run consultation exercises were discredited by the Lowfields fiasco. Rather than asking people to record a vote in favour or in opposition to multiple options, the exercise depended on narrative responses.

These were easy to manipulate by official’s intent on justifying a particular outcome.

This must not happen again.

There is a demand for “off the streets” activities for young people. Facilities like the MUGA – if well maintained and promoted – can make a difference. The plans for the new children’s centre on Ascot Way could also unlock the potential for better play facilities for younger children.

But all age groups need to be catered for.

*NB. The Beagle FC beat Cawood 4-0 in their Chesney Field encounter on Saturday

York Council sports and open space need assessments

Disability sports on show as part of Celebrating Ability Week

A fun packed week of exciting sports, physical activities and courses are lined up to encourage more York residents into disability sport as part of York’s fifth Celebrating Activity Week, Monday 26 October to Sunday 1 November.

Wheelchair basketball

The new programme, co-ordinated by the council’s Sport and Active Leisure team, offers a wide range of taster sessions for disabled children and adults. It includes a full day of sports coaching and fun at Energise, with different afternoons dedicated to both Deaf and Hard of Hearing sport and Visually Impaired sport.

This year, for the first time, sessions are also taking place at 10 different local sports clubs and organisations who are inviting disabled residents through their doors to try what’s on offer. These sessions include Inclusive Cycling at York Sports Village, Tennis at the University of York, Wigginton Tennis Club and David Lloyd Sports Centre, Wheelchair Basketball at Joseph Rowntree School, Deaf Badminton at York Railway Institute and Bowlsability at New Earswick Bowls Club. There will also be a new practical session for young people to help develop wheelchair manoeuvring skills.

A Snooker taster session is planned at York Railway Institute, Queen Street, between 9.30am and 11.30am on Saturday 31 October, led by qualified World Snooker coach, Kevin Gall. It is hoped that enough interest will be shown to enable the launch of a new Inclusive Snooker Club at the venue.

Councillor Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism said: “Celebrating Activity Week offers a fantastic opportunity to find out about the many disability sports in York taking place throughout the year and to make new friends. All adults should be aiming to do 150 minutes of physical activity a week and this event will help many to find ways they enjoy of doing just that.”

This year the programme will include a number of short courses for support workers, parents, carers, health professionals, volunteers, coaches and PE teachers which aim to raise awareness and confidence in delivering sports based activities to disabled people.

For more information about Celebrating Activity week visit or call 01904 553377.

Smashing Easter tennis courses announced

Some ace tennis sessions are being served up to residents of all ages throughout Easter.

Booking has opened for a number of courses inviting residents to net the chance to sharpen their tennis skills across the city over the next month

Upcoming sessions are at:

• Hull Road Park. This 10-week course, from Wednesday 15 April, is aimed at beginners or adults who haven’t played for a while. The sessions will be led by a fully-qualified LTA coach and held from 10am to 11am at a cost of £3.50 per session or £30 for the whole course. To book or for further information contact Jason May on 07900394788 or

• Heworth Tennis Club. A fun tennis camp for children aged 6-16 of all ability levels during the Easter holidays led by a fully qualified LTA coach. Sessions run between 1pm and 4pm and take place on: Tuesday 31 March, Thursday 2 April, Tuesday 7 April and Thursday 9 April. The camp costs £10 for members and £15 for non members. To book or for further information contact Jason May on 07900394788 or

• Strensall Tennis Club. A new adult tennis coaching programme aimed at beginners or adults who haven’t played for while. The course starts on Friday 24 April for 8 weeks between 6pm and 7.30pm at a cost of just £2 per session.To book or for further information contact Matt Ward on 07882 267971, email or visit

• Wheldrake Tennis Club, which is running two 10 week programmes starting in April. Both programmes cost £30, the adult coaching course starts Monday 20 April 6pm to 7.30pm. The Rusty Rackets course for those who want to take up tennis starts on Tuesday 21 April 9.30am to 11am. To book or for further information contact Matt Ward on 07882 267971, email or visit

For information on tennis in the city or other sporting opportunities contact Sport Participation Officer Nick Settle on 01904 553377 or email .

New disability sports clubs springing up in York

A range of new and inclusive disability sports sessions are launching this month for residents who want to take up Boccia, Bowling, Badminton and Wheelchair Basketball in York.

London Paralympics: Wheelchair Basketball - London 2012

Organised or supported by the council’s Sport and Active Leisure team, these exciting sessions will help offer equality of opportunity for disabled sportspeople in the city.

The activities have been developed in partnership with established and local community sports clubs across the city, who will take on the running of the sessions themselves and embed them within their own regular programme of sports. These new opportunities offer value for money to participants and support the council’s work towards creating financially sustainable health and wellbeing opportunities for everybody across the city.

The development of the new Boccia club is being led by Beth Moulom, a GBR Lions Squad (GBR development squad) player and her mother Liz who is an international coach and referee, who are keen to set up a new competition standard club. Badminton sessions have been requested by the Deaf community in a recent council Deaf and hard of hearing sports survey.

  • The new sessions are open to all ages and abilities with details as follows: