A CHAMPION hockey club will be leaving Horwich after plans were revealed to redevelop its pitch.

Horwich Hockey Club is based at the all-weather pitch in Old Station Park, next to the leisure centre, and experienced recent success as the women's team won the Greater Manchester League Division Four in 2016/17.

But Bolton Council recently announced that their pitch would be turned into a 3G surface and the club has now said it has to relocate as hockey can not be played on the new surface.

A club spokesman said: "We are disappointed with the decision taken by Bolton Council to replace the all-weather pitch at Horwich Leisure Centre with a 3G surface.

"This decision will lead to Horwich Hockey Club leaving the Horwich area and planning is underway in order to preserve the short to medium term future of the club.”

"We consider that this decision goes against the ‘sport for all’ mantra which has been repeated by Bolton Council during the consultation process.

"There is an appetite for a variety of sports in the local area as shown by the dramatic growth of Horwich Hockey Club since its inception three years ago.

"The creation of the women's team along with the on-field successes for both the men’s and women's teams has raised the profile of hockey in the local area in addition to the nationwide progress following the Olympic success of Great Britain’s ladies team.

"This local development has now been eradicated and the loss of a hockey club to the Horwich area will reduce the sporting choice available to local residents. This further confirms the subservience of all other sports to football in the minds of the local authorities.

"While disappointing, the outcome of the consultation process has felt like an inevitability from an early stage and simply served as a procedural step to confirm a decision which had already been taken."

The pitch was recently welcomed by football clubs.

Bolton Council have been contacted for a comment.