A FINAL call has gone out for groups willing to take over Blacksnape football pitches in Darwen.

The deadline for submitting an expression of interest is Monday and Blackburn with Darwen Council executive member for public health and wellbeing, Cllr Damian Talbot, is encouraging anyone interested in managing the operation of Blacksnape Football Pitches and Changing Rooms to register their intentions.

The 25-year lease will include responsibility for the maintenance of three full size football pitches and external areas and the operation and utility costs of the changing room building. The Council will continue to maintain the building itself and contribute to the maintenance of two of the full size football pitches.

Cllr Talbot said: “This is a tremendous opportunity for a local club or organisation to manage the site for the community, with grassroots football for all ages and groups. We have so many groups in the borough who want to make a difference in this way and I am looking forward to seeing the expressions of interest.”

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council is searching for football clubs and sports organisations who would be willing to take on the lease of this facility on Blacksnape Road in Darwen and operate it for the good of the local community and to support grassroots football.

Football clubs and groups that are interested in taking over the management of the Blacksnape should complete an expression of interest form which can be obtained via The Chest procurement portal at www.the-chest.org.uk.

For more information about the lease of Blacksnape pitches and changing rooms, contact Leisure Facilities Manager Graham Harris on (01254) 585187 or graham.harris@blackburn.gov.uk.

Last month, a last-ditch attempt to get council bosses to reconsider plans to search for clubs to run one of the biggest football facilities in Blackburn with Darwen was resoundingly defeated.

Tory group members had called in proposals to asset transfer Blacksnape Playing Fields and Cllr Talbot, was asked to defend his position.

Blacksnape Playing Fields attracted £900,000 of funding investment in 2008 to build new changing facilities and improve some of the pitches.

But due to budget cuts the maintenance on the grass pitches has reduced and the football pitches now need further investment to improve the drainage, particularly in the bottom four pitches.

Currently, due to the poor condition of pitches and in part to the exposed location the facility is only used very occasionally for booked matches and no games have been played there at all for the last three months.