A “boundary pushing” scheme could be set to bring a historic recreation ground into community ownership.

This comes with Horwich Town Council having announced plans to apply for government funding to buy the RMI Recreation Ground off Ramsbottom Road.

The ground has been the home of cricket in the town since the late 19th century and in more recent years has hosted events like the Festival of Horwich.

Cllr David Grant, of Horwich South and Blackrod, said: “Since taking control in 2019, I said our vision for Horwich was to create a super town council and since then we have pushed the boundaries of what is possible with a community council like Horwich.

“This is another example of that commitment along with taking ownership of services.

The Bolton News: The recreation ground has hosted various community eventsThe recreation ground has hosted various community events (Image: Public)

“I am proud of what we have achieved and there’s lots more to come.

“It is also important to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the clerks without whom none of this would be possible.

“And we thank the RMI Sports and Social Club committee for engaging with the town council so positively.”

The town council will now be applying to the Community Ownership Fund, run by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The £150M fund allows communities all around the UK to take ownership of assets like pubs, theatres and parks that would otherwise be at risk of closure.

In Horwich’s case the RMI Recreation Ground has hosted cricket matches since 1892 and more recently the town council funded Festival of Horwich.

The most recent festival, held in September last year, saw thousands of people gather for games, music, food and drink.

But in recent times the council and Horwich RMI Social Club have said that they have become concerned about threats to the space posed by housebuilding and development.  

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In response the town council says that officials have had discussions with the club committee about buying the land.

A Horwich Town Council spokesperson said: “It is essential for the quality of life for local residents and community cohesion that the rich heritage of Horwich is preserved.”

They added: “The Council has had preliminary discussions about the purchase of the land with members of Horwich RMI Social Club Committee who are keen to collaborate to create a lasting legacy and preserve the last central open space in Horwich.

“As a progressive forward thinking local authority the town council recognises the importance of community engagement and intends to consult with local residents in various ways and is grateful for the opportunity the RMI Sports and Social Club has presented and the positive way in which discussions have progressed and looks forward to providing more updates in the months ahead.”