Working with White Horse Contractors: The client experience

Delivering effective projects can often be challenging, at White Horse Contractors we ensure a smooth process from initial meeting through to handover and beyond.

With our specialist team focused on turning our clients’ ideas and plans into a reality, we understand the importance of communication when reaching a common goal. Discussing our services post-handover is a great way for us to reflect on our successful projects from the past.

Monks Brook Playing Fields Football Pitch Construction

The feedback on the pitches has been exceptional from end-users and from the Leisure Operator who run the site, the Hampshire FA.

Harry Lee - Corporate Project Officer, Eastleigh Borough Council

White Horse Contractors were selected to construct natural turf football pitches in Eastleigh, that would adhere to the FA and Sport England's standard.

Situated in Hampshire, Eastleigh Borough Council is a medium-sized district council with a £65m turnover and big ambitions, they have delivered a range of major projects and initiatives ensuring they continue to be progressive and innovative in their approach.

We sat down with Harry Lee, Eastleigh Borough Council's Corporate Project Officer to discuss the process from design to delivery:

Business Case: What was the rationale behind the new football pitches?

The pitches were being delivered as mitigation to replace existing playing pitches being lost as part of the North Stoneham Housing Development.

Eastleigh Borough Council partnered with the FA, Sport England, and Premier League, to deliver the pitches under the Parklife initiative, using the S106 contributions secured through the North Stoneham Development along with grant funding from the above-named partners to deliver significantly enhanced provision to that being lost to enhance the quality of football facilities available to the local community.

The Challenge: What were Eastleigh Borough Council’s objectives for the new pitches and how will they contribute to the wider goals of the council?

Extensive match play and training modelling was undertaken to assess the needs of the teams being displaced from existing facilities at North Stoneham and the wider football community to determine what facilities would be provided to best meet their needs.

Between the grass pitches and 3 full-size 3Gs provided on the site, the facility is now the primary venue for the Eastleigh and District Mini Soccer League who have 270+ teams in the Under 7 to Under 10 age group who play central venue league fixtures at the site, and 60+ team club AFC Stoneham who use the facility as the home ground for all their teams.

The facilities are also available to other local community clubs and leagues to hire for training and match play. The facilities aimed to provide all-weather pitches and high-quality grass pitches to improve player experience and reduce the number of fixtures lost to poor weather and waterlogged pitches.

By providing the grass pitches alongside the 3 x 3G pitches and a café, a sustainable financial business model has been created to ensure the grass pitches get the maintenance they require to be maintained to a high-quality standard.

This model has protected grassroots football in the borough, by providing one of the largest and highest quality community football sites in the country, helping to improve player experience and contribute to the Councils wider health and wellbeing objectives.

The Solution: What was appealing about White Horse Contractor’s proposal / solution?

White Horse were chosen as the nominated sub-contractor to deliver the natural turf pitches by the selected principal contractor on the site – Smiths Construction.

Natural turf pitch contractors were chosen from an approved list of natural turf pitch contractors with a proven track record of delivery quality grass pitches to Sport England and the FA’s Performance Quality Standards. The natural turf pitch consultant at TGMS raised a concern about the depth of one of the soil layers being too high during a key stage inspection, meaning he was concerned that the proposed sand slits would not be deep enough to connect with the lateral drainage.

Accordingly, it was agreed that sand bands would be installed instead. This was delivered to a high standard by White Horse but meant a race against time to get the pitches ready for the new season, with greater grass establishment needed to grow over the wider sand bands.

White Horse worked with us and implemented additional treatment to the pitches to give them the best possible chance of being ready on time.

Results: Have your objectives and aspirations outlined above been met?

The feedback on the pitches has been exceptional from end-users and from the Leisure Operator who run the site, the Hampshire FA. Unfortunately, due to Covid causing postponements to grass root sports, the pitches have seen limited use this season, but this has given them a chance to fully establish.
Read more about our natural turf sports pitch construction services or natural turf sports pitch renovation services.

To speak with our specialist team, please contact us on 01865 736 272 or email us.