£500,000 grant to Roundwood Park for controversial 3G Harpenden football pitch

Roundwood Park school

Roundwood Park school - Credit: Archant

A controversial artificial grass sports field has been backed by a £500,000 grant from major football organisations.

There was strong fervour both in favour and against a third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP) at Roundwood Park School in Harpenden when the application was first submitted in June 2016.

The school argued that because the pitch can be used all-year round, it would make football more accessible for students and players already part of Harpenden Colts - the local youth football club backing the scheme. It expects the pitch to generate 217 per cent more football participation.

Opponents maintained that noise, light pollution, intrusive opening times and excessive parking would be a burden on neighbours.

The original application was refused on these grounds, but later accepted by St Albans district council (SADC) in January 2017 after the school had modified its application.

Roundwood Park and Harpenden Colts have now worked alongside the Hertfordshire FA to secure this grant from the Premier League and The FA Facilities, which is funded alongside Sports England and delivered by sports charity, the Football Foundation.

Roundwood Park headteacher lan Henshall said he is delighted: “This pitch will benefit our students and the whole community by giving them a much needed facility in the town to promote a healthy lifestyle throughout the year.”

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Chairman of the Harpenden Colts, Ian Holden, said the club can now plan for its future with the football pitch guaranteed: “This is wonderful news and will transform the provision of sport in Harpenden creating opportunities for all ages to get active throughout the year whatever the weather.”

Moira Hart, chair of governors for Roundwood Park, described the facilities as world class: “We are sure that it will have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of so many students in our school. Now it is all about stepping up and participating in raising the money for this exciting project.”

Chief executive of the Football Foundation, Paul Thorogood, said the project will “have a great impact on the local community by opening up access to our national game and improving the quality of sporting experience they enjoy at the enhanced facilities”.