Revamp secures new home for football club

A football club has a new home to inspire the next generation of soccer stars, following a revamp of almost £500,000, secured with the help of Malvern Hills District Council.

Newtown Sports Junior FC officially moved in to Sling Lane Playing Fields this month (September) following the transformation of the site. Initially they will lease the land for five years, including maintenance and repairs, while a longer 25 year deal is worked out.

Previously the pitches were in poor condition, not fit for purpose and did not meet FA standards. The changing rooms had been burnt down and never replaced, while it was costing the council about £12,000 a year in maintenance and repairs.

After the club approached the council about taking on the site, it was decided they should work together to bring it up to standard.

Malvern Hills District Council initially invested £55,000 with £25,000 coming from Newtown Sports. Another £65,000 was made available from money linked to planning agreements and the council then worked to secure £325,000 from Sport England and the Football Foundation.

As a result, there is now one senior pitch, one junior pitch and two new mini pitches along with new high quality changing rooms with equipment storage and a kitchen. There is also dedicated car parking to remove congestion from residential streets.

Cllr Rebecca Massey, portfolio holder for leisure on Malvern Hills District Council, said: "I'm delighted we've been able to support Newtown Sports Junior FC in their ambition to grow the game in the district whilst protecting a much valued public space from housing development and improving it for the benefit of the local community."

Rob Eyles, Chairman of Newtown Sports Junior FC, said: "As a Charter Standard Community Club, we echo Cllr Massey's statement and, as custodians, Newtown Sports Junior FC look forward to managing the facility for the whole of the local community, while maintaining fit-for-purpose football facilities for the children of Malvern, and the wider sporting fraternity."