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.