Latest Birchwood Leisure Centre plans unveiled to rehome Hatfield Town FC
PUBLISHED: 18:00 19 March 2019 | UPDATED: 18:24 19 March 2019
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Hatfield Town Council has unveiled plans for the transformation of Birchwood Leisure Centre, including pitches for Hatfield Town Football Club.
With four pitches, the scheme promises to return the club to its home town as well as providing space for Hatfield Boxing Club, junior netball clubs, martial arts, dance and recording studios, as well as new catering facilities and meeting and function rooms.
“It has been 35 years since Hatfield Town FC last competed in its own ground, in its own town,” said council leader Lenny Brandon.
“And in their 133-year history, they have never played a floodlit game in Hatfield.
“The Herts Sports Partnership, the Football Association, the Football Foundation, England Netball and the Amateur Boxing Association are all committed in seeing this proposal come to fruition.
“They have all shared their wealth of experience and expertise to provide advice, encouragement and support.
“This will certainly create a sporting hub to engage the whole community, especially involving and including the town’s youth, who are our future.”
Chris Maloney, chairman of Hatfield Town FC, welcomed the proposals, saying it would give the sporting community a “massive boost”.
“There have been many false dawns in the past, although I do believe the latest plans give us the best chance we have had since I became involved,” he said.
“A tremendous amount of work has gone into getting where we are, I am sure the people of Hatfield will see how this will benefit the whole community and publicly get behind the plans.”
The plans also include 54 new one- and two-bedroom flats on the site of the existing car park, with a separate site entrance plus 68 parking spaces.
A new 110-space car park is proposed to the east of the existing leisure centre.
£800,000 of the funding comes from the S106 contribution towards the community from the Angerland Park & Ride scheme.
In 2017, the town council was criticised by some councillors for refusing to reveal the costs of architects’ pre-planning advice for an earlier set of plans which, according to critics, included a football stadium with flats at each corner.
Hatfield Town Council has sought pre-application advice for the current plan from the borough council.
“Much discussion and debate is anticipated, and hopefully it remains positive, with a common goal to achieve something we can all be proud to be associated with,” said Cllr Brandon.