Sports Gateway unveils £100,000 plan to upgrade Hucknall football pitches at centre of controversy

The organisation behind plans to overhaul a series of football pitches in Hucknall has unveiled an ambitious £100,000 programme of upgrades it says will bring “true benefit to local clubs”.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 4:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th July 2021, 4:47 pm
The area of pitches off Kenbrook Road in Hucknall. Photo: Google

Sports Gateway has put forward ever-evolving proposals for the Papplewick Green site, off Kenbrook Road in the town.

An original application included a 3G pitch that has been paused – and a classroom that has been removed from the plan entirely to reduce impact on nearby residents after many objected.

All that remains on the application is storage for £12,000 worth of wheeled goals, for all age groups, that will be available to multiple teams.

But Sports Gateway says it is still fully committed to the site and has revealed it has secured £60,000 of funding from the Football Foundation – along with £30,000 it will invest as a condition of the funding – to improve the pitches.

Hucknall man Jamie Brough, of Sports Gateway, said: “Sports Gateway has been working with the Football Foundation and the FA since March to access much needed funding to support the grass pitches at Papplewick Green.

“Following meetings with Nottinghamshire FA and the Football Foundation, we have been successful in securing grant funding to be invested solely into the grass pitches.

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“Furthermore, we have secured nearly £12,000 towards new wheeled goals for the site.

“The grant took several weeks to secure. Myself and another member of the Sports Gateway team had to provide evidence of the state of the pitches. This was done by using the Football Foundation online portal and involved having to dig out a cube of the turf in three separate areas of ALL the pitches.

"We then had to take measurements and submit pictures of the roots, topsoil, and base of the cube. I don’t think we could have picked a worse day to carry out the necessary work.

“Once everything was submitted the foundation contacted me to arrange a site visit, and they then produced a report that showed that all pitches had been graded as poor.”

The Dispatch has seen evidence of the grant, but Mr Brough believes that more money above the £100,000 would be invested.

He added: “We will work with the FA’s preferred contractor and every year we will submit evidence of the spend and the work carried out.

“The grant is released over a six-year period to improve the pitches for the long term. I have discussed the pitch improvement plan with the foundation and the local authority and we are agreed that it should very much be a phased approach to the works.”

Mr Brough continued: “The true benefit will be to all local football clubs that use the facility and as the pitches improve it will hopefully open up the opportunity for more teams to use, after all this is exactly what that facility was built for.

“The £30,000-plus we are investing ourselves is a big commitment however as a community interest company we are committed to improving sport for all the community, whether that be through improving pitches, providing equipment, working with young people in schools, providing education or general sponsorship.

“I’m pleased to have accessed funding through the Premier League that will see a great addition to the Papplewick Green site which we’ll announce in the coming weeks .”