Hello everyone, happy Monday.

As you may recall at the end of last year we told you about a number of exciting developments that we were looking to make at the club, and the commencement of the planning processes for many of those.

These have taken longer then anticipated due to a number of complications and issues, however I am pleased to update the following:

Last week we submitted a planning application to upgrade the main pitch from grass to the latest in synthetic surfaces, which will include a new fully integrated drainage system. This morning it was allocated the planning permission application number: 12873139. So you can follow this for yourselves.

This new pitch will be the very latest in synthetic turf technology, with the highest specification shock pad and drainage facility underneath it. There will be no better or higher grade playing surface on the planet that this one, it has a FIFA 2* grading and will have bio-degradable cork infill as opposed to the usual rubber crumb.

This is a significant financial investment in the club’s infrastructure, there will be no outside funding from the usual sources (Football Foundation etc) and there will be no debt burden put on to the club.

This development is essential to ensure the long-term survival of our club, for a number of reasons:

Firstly, our current pitch is old, it cuts up very badly and despite the tireless efforts our groundsman Paul Glover it is desperate need of replacing. We have lost significant revenues for games being called off due to poor weather, and the continued risk of injury is always there.

Secondly, our grassroots, development and academy teams currently don’t get to train or play at the club, which is totally wrong for a community club such as ours. They should be training and playing at our home and learning what we are all about and what representing a true family and community club is all about, and making lifelong memories with our club at the centre of that.

Thirdly, our Deaf team can only play on a synthetic surface between the months of November and February, which again currently means that we can’t be fully inclusive to a number of our teams with special requirements, which is wholly unacceptable. We are also looking to massively grow our pan disability footballing activities over the next few years and we need a synthetic pitch to be able to do this.

Fourthly: The cost implication of all of the academy, grassroots, development, deaf and our mens and ladies first teams training and playing away from our home is huge, these monies would be saved and reinvested back into the club to help it develop and grow further.

So this exciting development is essential to ensure not only the long-term survival of our club, but also to be able to offer a better and safer environment for all of our pitch’s users and to allow us to be more inclusive to those who need the specialist facilities that we don’t currently have.

To support this application within the next 4-6 weeks there will be two more planning applications we have almost completed for submission, one is to upgrade the floodlights in the ground to a full LED state-of-the-art system, and the second to install a fully integrated digital scoreboard system to the ground.

We have also made significant but slow progress on the main planning application I shared with you at the end of last year. We will be looking to have the public consultation stage of this planning process at the end of April/beginning of May.

As I have mentioned before, this has encountered a number of unexpected and some quite frankly crazy issues, but none that we haven’t overcome!

Look out for another update in the next couple of days about some internal changes we are making to make our club stronger and able to sustain the significant growth we are planning!

Enjoy the rest of your day!

– Paul Barthorpe, chairman