Westfield Downs Project
After 18 long years the Westfield Downs Project has finally been given the go ahead, developers and the land owners have exchanged contracts with Bulldozers and diggers are already onsite, flattening and moving the grounds, the football club will have a new ground to play in that will be fit for senior Adult football and a base with facilities to provide youth football for the village and surrounding areas.
The Westfield Down Project (WDP) has been an important prospect for the community for several years. The land owners, Westfield Parish Council, and the local Planning Authority have been working on the plan to provide substantial community recreation facilities and housing on land between the GP's surgery and the Cricket Ground.
Informal negotiations began in 2003. Later a formal proposal was submitted to the Planning Authority and following a public consultation and Government inspection, this proposal achieved policy status in the Local District Plan in 2006. (Policy VL11). The proposal allocates one hectare of land nearest the surgery for housing, and the remaining 2.5 hectares for general community recreation use including football pitches.
In 2007 a "Change of use" planning application was granted to the Parish Council for the football and recreation elements of the scheme (application no. RR/2007/545/P). The Parish Council has applied twice to renew this permission for another three years. Renewals were granted in July 2010 and again in 2013 (application nos. RR/2010/1111/P and RR/2013/1286/P).
In June 2014 an outline planning application by the land owners, for the housing element was approved, subject to a Section 106 agreement which establishes the contribution required from the planning gain to be made towards to the community recreation and football part of the scheme (RR/2009/322/P).
A lot of people never believed we would see the day that works started on The Downs project, including many within the football club recently, with Covid restrictions and other issues it all seemed a pipe dream, but credit must go out to the Parish Council and everyone who has continued to push this project forward, Graham Drinkwater, Mick Kempster, Hamish Munro, Roger Carrier, Kevin Baker, Melvyn Young, John Archer, Peter Bentley, Gill Attewell, Jon Attewell & George Chapman to name a few and there are many that have helped with this, the dream is now becoming a reality.
We are really looking forward to working with the developers in the way the ground will be setup and constructed, its set to include fully segregated changing rooms fit for the modern standard of senior football, a stand to house supporters with seating and cover, 4 sided hard standing with a pitch perimeter barrier system, freshly laid dugouts, a pitch that has the FA specifications for new pitches to include purpose built drainage, this can then be upgraded to include a new clubhouse, floodlights and further seating arrangements when required.
Obviously this news has caused a massive buzz within the club and plans are already being talked about surrounding what we can do next, but this is a long process, the land over at the downs is very overgrown and there is a lot of work to be done, we are however confident that working together between the developers, football club & parish council we can over come the hurdles and get Senior football back to the village.
Chairman Jack Stapley added his thanks to all that have been involved previous to him within the project, and that he's looking forward to meeting with the developers and parish council the forge a good working relationship and plan the way ahead. This is a massive step forward for the football club and the village as a whole, i hope it will bring many years of successful sport and community togetherness to the village with the extra facilities that will be available going forwards.
we will provide further updates as and when we receive them, please see plans for the project below.