Boost for football facilities across St Albans with plans for significant investment

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.

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 St Albans this means a proposal of 21 priority projects

The report said: “The strength of football in St Albans has been club growth and development. This had led to five clubs having more than 20 teams and it is recommended that it is further encouraged.

“However, there are issues one of which is the conversion rate for male and female youth players into adult teams.

“It is therefore recommended that the future football development priorities for St Albans are to increase the number of adult male and female football teams and support the transition of youth players into adult football, increase the range of recreational programmes across the area and increase the provision of activities for those with a disability, be this through 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 four full-size 3G football-turf pitches, 41 improved grass pitches, seven changing rooms or clubhouses and six small-sided facilities.

Redbourn Leisure Centre, Harvesters Football Club, Wheathampstead 3G project, the central St Albans 3G project and Harpenden Town Football Club’s home at Rothamsted Park have been identified as possible locations for the 3G pitches although nothing is confirmed yet.

Ten of the 20 “key grass pitch sites”, which account for the equivalent of 41 full-time pitches, have been prioritised for improvement work. These are the Redbourn Leisure Centre, Highfield Park, Morris Playing Fields, Nicholas Breakspear High School, Rothamsted Park, Shenley Lane Playing Fields, Marford Field in Wheathampstead, Samuel Ryder Academy, Toulmin Drive and Butterfield Playing Fields.

Highfield Park, Samuel Ryder and Rothamsted Park appear on the list of places that need new clubhouse or changing room provision while Harvesters, Morris, Marford and Butterfield fields 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