Tonbridge Angels given the go-ahead to install 3G pitch at Longmead Stadium
TONBRIDGE ANGELS have been given the green light from their council to install a 3G FIFA Quality Pro pitch at Longmead Stadium this summer.
The long-term sustainability of the National League South club has taken a seismic step forward with the granting by Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council on 31 March, of planning permission for the club to install a 3G FIFA Quality Pro surface at Longmead Stadium together with new floodlights, dugouts and goals for both 11 and 5-a-side matches.
With finance covering the £700,000 budget now largely in place through the innovative Angels Investor Scheme together with an expected positive response of a grant from the Football Foundation, the club has been able to appoint its contractors for the pitch work that will take place during this summer.
The contractors will start work the day after the Angels final home league game of the season against Eastbourne Borough on 2 May. Work on the new 3G pitch will be completed well in time for the start of the 2022/23 competitive season.
The new pitch will of course provide a much greater use made of the Longmead sporting facility. The club would be used every day of the week and income generated from community pitch hire and increased hospitality revenue will provide financial sustainability and a long-term future.
The club's youth team’s together with increased football participation for girls, women, the disabled and over 50's will all be part of the benefits accruing from the new pitch together with of course a permanent training base for the first-team itself.
Crucial to the planning permission and Football Foundation grant has been the agreement by the Council for a two-year revisionary lease on the ground which provides tenure through to 2034. This will allow the club to continue further discussions with the Council about a new longer-term lease for the ground and other opportunities in the vicinity following the new pitch installation.
Tonbridge Angels chairman Dave Netherstreet said in a statement: "This is a huge step forward for the club arguably the biggest since the first Angels competitive game back in 1948 or our move to Longmead in 1980.
“I would like to thank Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council for their support which has been absolutely crucial. Sincere thanks must also go to the Angels Investors who have been prepared to come on board and be part of this enormously exciting project.
“As a supporter owned club, facilitation of the investor scheme has worked incredibly well but nonetheless the board takes nothing for granted and are amazed at people's loyalty and affection towards Tonbridge Angels FC. Myself and the current board members are simply custodians of this fantastic club but we want to ensure that future generations whether they play or simply watch and support will be able to enjoy a sporting hub of excellence for many decades to come."
Steve McKimm’s side – in the bottom five with 33 points from their 31 games – welcome bottom-of-the-table side Welling United this afternoon (15:00).
Visit Tonbridge Angels’ website: www.tonbridgeangels.co.uk