Boost for football facilities across Welwyn Hatfield and Potters Bar with significant investment plans
- Credit: Archant
A multi-million-pound nationwide plan has been launched to help “unlock the power of football pitches in England” and allow more people to play the game as well as “improving their physical and mental health, empowering young people and strengthening communities”.
Every area in the country has a plan to enable investment in football facilities to be accurately targeted, identifying the priority projects for potential investment.
The plan, with guidance from local partners, has developed a list of high-level projects for potential investment. Each is aligned to the investment priorities set out in the National Football Facilities Strategy, which include thousands of new 3G football-turf pitches and improved natural-turf pitches.
For Welwyn Hatfield this means a proposal of 15 priority projects
The report said: “The strength of football in Welwyn Hatfield has been the growth of club development which has resulted in four clubs having over 20 teams. It is recommended that this is sustained and encouraged to grow further.
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“However, gaps in provision do exist, these include conversion of the number of male and female youth teams and players into adult teams, increase in the provision for players with a disability and the growth of girls football.
“It is therefore recommended that the future football development priorities for Welwyn & Hatfield are increase the number of senior adult male and female teams, support the transition of youth teams and players into adult football, increase the recreational programmes across the area and increase the provision of activities for those with a disability, be this via an increase in the number of teams or recreational football opportunity.”
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To do this the plan has identified that there is a shortfall of three full-size 3G football-turf pitches, 17 improved grass pitches, four changing rooms or clubhouses and six small-sided facilities.
Two of the three 3G pitches would be placed in the north of the authority, with the third in the south. Sites have not yet been identified.
Seven of the 15 “key grass pitch sites”, which account for the equivalent of 17 full-time pitches, have been prioritised for improvement work. These are Monk’s Walk School and Ridgeway Academy, Birchwood Leisure Centre, Lemsford Village Hall, Moneyhole Playing Fields and Welham Green Recreation Ground as well as Welwyn Garden City Football Club’s home at Herns Lane.
Monk’s Walk and De Havilland Grange appear on the list of places that need new clubhouse or changing room provision while Lemsford Village Hall and King George Playing Field in Cuffley require refurbishment work.
Hertsmere’s plans highlights “clear gaps” in Potters Bar with the Furzefield Centre in line for a new full-sized 3G pitch. There would also been potential improvements to the pitch at King George Playing Fields on Mutton Lane.
The next steps will be to start applications for future funding.
Each priority project that progresses to a funding application via the Football Foundation will produce a detailed site development plan, specifying all football development activity, usage and key partner engagement.
Each will also have to show how it will deliver key participation outcomes, be a good quality, sustainable facility and demonstrate suitable match-funding.
The report added: “Successful delivery will require the collective effort of all local partners. It is recommended that the important work undertaken by these partners to produce this plan continues in the form of on-going dialogue and collaborative work to deliver priority projects and review progress.”
For more on each area’s plan go to https://footballfoundation.org.uk/local-plans