Whyteleafe given go-ahead to lay 3G pitch at Church Road

Wednesday 05th February 2014
WHYTELEAFE chairman Mark Coote says the club have been successful in achieving full planning consent to convert their main pitch at Church Road into a FIFA approved 3G artificial playing surface.

The Surrey club announced the news a week after Conference clubs voted against the surface at an Extraordinary General Meeting in Telford.

John Fowler’s side are presently in third-place in the Southern Counties East Football League and are looking to return to the Ryman League after being relegated in April 2012.

There has been plenty of talk on 3G pitches in the past couple of weeks and Whyteleafe are following in the footsteps of Ryman League sides Maidstone United and Harlow Town, who play on artificial pitches at their main stadiums.

Thamesmead Town play on a grass pitch at Bayliss Avenue but their adjacent 3G pitch is used by youth teams as well as Bexley Borough and Seven Acre & Sidcup Reserves and Under 21 sides.

There has been plenty of discussions about the pros and cons of artificial pitches but Mr Coote believes their pitch will benefit their local community, as is with the case of Maidstone United, whose Academy has flourished during the past couple of seasons since the club moved into The Gallagher Stadium at James Whatman Way.

“It has always been our intention to change the name of the freehold to Whyteleafe Community Sport Centre,” said Mr Coote’s statement, which was published on the club’s website.

“We just feel that this may make it more welcoming and do away with the ‘club’ exclusive, am I allowed in there tag?

“Under the banner of Whyteleafe Community Sport Centre will of course be Whyteleafe Football Club, The Nursery, Academy, Soccer Schools, Colleges or any other tenant.”

The club, which has a training pitch situated behind the stand at the ground, will also rebuild some of their facilities at the ground.

“The 3G is phase one of our development,” revealed Mr Coote.

“We plan as phase two (subject to further planning approval) to demolish the existing changing rooms and rebuild them at pitch level with physio and rehab clinics within and to extend above a function/boardroom type building with seating area outside for match days for directors, officials and sponsors.

“The function room can be hired for private events.

“The existing 3G training area has just had £10,000 worth of goals replaced to bring it inline with the new FA guidelines for 5v5 and 7v7, the main pitch itself will incorporate two 9v9 pitches.

“All this will allow us to cater for grass roots football from six years to senior level.

“It will be a facility that opens its door to both the local community and surrounding areas, something that I hope will make us all proud to be part off and hopefully something that the Tandridge District will embrace.

“We have a long journey to go and I hope that you can all enjoy the ride.”

The chairman confirmed that floodlight usage will be between 16:00-22:00 (Monday to Fridays), 16:00-20:00 (Saturdays) and 16:00-18:00 on Sundays.

Cray Wanderers and Fisher have previously indicated that they want to install artificial pitches at their new stadiums once they are built – and Sevenoaks Town have revealed plans to lay one when they get the go-ahead to redevelop Greatness Park.

Visit Whyteleafe’s website: www.theleafe.co.uk