Construction work started yesterday (8 June) to create eight new football pitches and a clubhouse for junior footballers aged 4-16 years old.
Work on the pitches will take 10 weeks and will include improved drainage, levelling and then seeding, and will be carried out by Chappelow Sports Turf Ltd. The clubhouse will be built later next year and the full site will open for the 2020/2021 football season.
On completion, the site will be leased to Bishopthorpe White Rose Football Club, and has been funded partly by the council, by tireless fundraising by the club and a Football Foundation grant of almost £500,000. The Football Foundation awarded the grant to deliver the eight pitches, a new clubhouse and supporting infrastructure.
The development will be built on council-owned land known as the Ashfield estate which sits between Tadcaster Road and Sim Balk Lane. Gateway Developments, which are co-owners of the adjacent land, have joined forces with the council and Bishopthorpe White Rose FC to allow access for construction vehicles and for club members and players when the pitches are open.
The award-winning Bishopthorpe White Rose Football Club provides fun, fitness and coaching sessions as well as competitive sport to over 400 local boys and girls, including players with disabilities.
The growing club, which is run entirely by volunteers, does not currently have its own facilities and so plays on numerous sites in the city which is costly and complicates organising matches. It has been looking for new facilities for a number of years and these will be easily accessible from the nearby cycle path and Park&Ride.
Josh Wong, Bishopthorpe Whiterose Football Club secretary, said:
“We are incredibly grateful to the Football Foundation and City of York Council for this massive investment in our club and also for the many people who have and continue to support our fundraising efforts. A new home site, which will allow us to expand and develop our activities, will be a huge benefit to all our young players, their families and the local community.”
Cllr Darryl Smalley, executive member for culture, leisure and communities at City of York Council, said:
“This is a great solution to create more and improved sports facilities across York and supports community action. I’m really looking forward to seeing the pitches and clubhouse in action.”
An extra 400 trees and 900 meters of hedgerows will be planted at the Ashfield site which will include bird boxes on the clubhouse. Young site users will be educated about sustainability as part of the agreement with the club.