Boost for football facilities across Huntingdonshire with significant investment plans

Football facilities across England are set for significant investment. Picture: DANNY LOO

Football facilities across England are set for significant investment. Picture: DANNY LOO - 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.

This 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 Huntingdon this means a proposal of 14 priority projects

The report said: “The strengths of football in Huntingdonshire include the large number of affiliated mini soccer, youth teams and walking football centre provision.


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“However, gaps in adult football and disability youth participation do exist and there are aspects of football provision that are lower than authorities of a similar size. These include female teams.

“It is therefore recommended that the future football development priorities for Huntingdonshire are U18, adult teams and adult leagues, disability youth teams. flexible male and female adult football opportunities, youth and adult female teams and youth and adult teams and leagues in futsal.”

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To do this the plan has identified that there is a shortfall of five full-size 3G football-turf pitches, 31 improved grass pitches, six changing rooms or clubhouses and one small-sided facility.

Football clubs Godmanchester Rovers and St Ives Town as well as a site at Alconbury Weald and a 3G project in Huntingdon have been identified as possible locations for the 3G pitches as have two sites operated by One Leisure in St Neots and Huntingdon, although nothing is confirmed yet.

Six of the 21 “key grass pitch sites”, which account for the equivalent of 31 full-time pitches, have been prioritised for improvement work. These are the David Wilson Homes Ground in Godmanchester, Jubilee Park, Sapley Park and Hinchingbrooke School in Huntingdon, One Leisure in St Ives and Priory Park in St Neots.

Alconbury Weald would require new clubhouse or changing room provision while Priory and Sapley parks, Fenstanton Youth FC as well as Peterborough’s Middletons Road Recreation Ground and Greenfields in Sawtry require refurbishment work.

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

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