ACCRINGTON Stanley Community Trust has signed a 30-year lease on Higham Playing Fields.

The agreement will allow the construction of the £2m community sports hub to begin.

After over three years of consultation, partnership working and fundraising, the trust is now in a position to sanction the construction of the facility.

The new hub will take about six months to build and will become the new base for Accrington Stanley Community Trust, as well as providing state of the art sports and education facilities for many grassroots clubs, sports groups and local organisations. Trust bosses say it will also create new job opportunities for people in the local area with vacancies such as receptionists, caterers, coordinators and other key roles to be announced in the near future.

ASCT chief executive officer, Martin Fearon, said: “This is a huge step forward. The 30-year lease safeguards the site as a playing field and recreation area for the many sports clubs, community organisations and general public to enjoy.

“We are delighted to have signed the lease and look forward to providing a first-class sports and education facility that will drive up participation rates, boost education and employability, and provide state of the art sports facilities for Hyndburn’s grassroots clubs.”

Cllr Miles Parkinson, leader of Hyndburn Council, added: “The enhanced provision of sports and changing facilities at Higham Playing Fields will be a great facility for everyone, providing fantastic arts, sport and recreation facilities which will be open for all to use, suitable for all age groups and a great bonus for future generations too.”

The plan did attract many opponents who wanted the playing fields to remain untouched.