Birchwood Community Sports Project
At their meeting on Monday 16th October, the Hatfield Community Sport Fund Board agreed to provide a grant of £1million to fund new sports facilities at Birchwood in north Hatfield.
The outline project will see the area benefit from a new full size 3G football pitch, a re-laid multi-use games area (capable of hosting tennis, netball and hockey), a new all-weather outdoor basketball court and the introduction of outdoor gym equipment. This will be in addition to a full grass pitch improvement programme, which is being supported by the Football Foundation and has been agreed to by Hertfordshire FA.
The new 3G facility will be able to accommodate a higher level of usage, all year round, and will compliment the 6 remaining grass pitches. Prices will be set at an affordable level and conversations have already started about hosting small sided football leagues on weekday evenings.
Ashley Howard, CEO of Forever Young People, an award-winning Hertfordshire coaching and mentoring programs for teenagers, said “we are already thinking about the projects, football team and other potentially youth services our organisation would be able to bring to Birchwood”. Simon Hathaway from the Inclusion Project, explained how they work with individuals and disabilities, and saw this “as an opportunity to expand their offerings at Birchwood”.
Cllr Larry Crofton, Leader of Hatfield Town Council, was pleased his administration was able to present a credible project for approval in their first 6 months in office and spoke of his pride in being able to act decisively to secure the funding.
Subject to planning approval, the proposal will look to include additional car parking at Birchwood, to alleviate congestion issues on weekends, and lighting of the public path leading to the Odlings Corner retail park.
Steve Maker, Head of Football Development and Investment at Hertfordshire FA, has advised on the project. “Hertfordshire FA is committed to promoting and supporting grassroot football in the area and we are delighted to be working with Hatfield Town Council to meet the strategic need for football participation, by supporting the proposal to upgrade the community facilities at Birchwood”.
We have compiled a list of recurring questions and concerns that we have received regarding this project and have produced a dedicated FAQ page, which can be viewed here.