An ambitious football club’s goal to become more of a social venue will come under the microscope this week.
Hindsford AFC, the reigning Manchester League champions, has put forward proposals for their Langley Platt Lane ground to become licensed to serve alcohol until midnight at weekends.
Supporters insist the plans will enable the outfit, which also runs a number of junior sides, to cement its position as a major sports provider in the Atherton and Tyldesley area.
But neighbours are equally adamant that their application to Wigan Council should be rejected, as they fear late-night disruption, based on their past experiences of bases at the club.
Neighbour Amanda Evans said in letter to the council: “Damage has already been caused to cars parked in the street this year by youths leaving the football club drunk, jumping on the bonnets of residents’ cars and breaking wing mirrors off.”
Maurice Coop added: “Since the residents of Squires Lane are a mix of retired and working people, some of whom have to set out for work very early in the morning, the late-night noise and traffic would be to say at the least disruptive.”
Similar views were echoed in the 23 letters and e-mails sent to the council opposing the scheme.
However, the club’s aims have been backed by a further 17 pieces of correspondence, and a 47-name petition, submitted to the licensing department.
One of the backers, Richard Howarth, said: “Tyldesley is blighted by anti-social behaviour through a lack of opportunities and activities in the town for the younger generation.
“Hindsford AFC is a community-run organisation which provides a platform to help future generations of children find a focus and a sense of self-worth, which will guide them away from this kind of behaviour.
“This is exactly what they and the local community needs and its value cannot be overstated.
“However, clearly this comes at a cost, which must be met by the club itself and the approval of this licence would allow the club to gain much-needed revenue by providing a function room, which again is another benefit to the community.”
Several other residents say they have not encountered any major difficulties with previous functions held at the ground.
Others have spoken highly of the contribution made by Hindsford in providing recreational opportunities for young footballers in the area.
The application, which has been tendered by the club’s Paul Devlin, will be considered by the council’s licensing sub-committee at Wigan Town Hall on Friday.