Construction firm unveils £1.6m sports hub for Chester

The proposed Chester scheme

A £1.6m community sports hub for Chester has been unveiled by the Frank Whittle Partnership (FWP), one of the UK’s leading multi-disciplinary construction companies.

The masterplan has been drawn up by the Preston- and Manchester-based firm’s sports design specialists and is being presented to the fans and public before the season ends.

Chester FC Community Trust chose FWP to design football pitches and training facilities on King George V playing fields in Blacon in the city.

The scheme will include a new full-size floodlit 3G pitch, improvement of the existing grass pitches, a new clubhouse with changing rooms and community facilities, refurbishment of the existing pavilion to include an education suite and additional car parking and access to the site.

Nick Wiley, associate partner at FWP, said: “The sports hub will provide much-needed facilities for grassroots clubs and leagues in Chester, as well as delivering wider community benefits including improved health and wellbeing, increased participation in sport, and new employment and education opportunities.

“In all our sports sector work our aim is to deliver real value for sport, leisure and entertainment for the whole of the local community, with real benefits for clubs and their supporters.

“Our expertise is in developing modern facilities that will be used by members of the community seven days a week, for 364 days of the year.”

The project is a collaboration with Cheshire West & Chester Council, which is investing in the project as part of its £4m commitment to improve football facilities across the borough with additional funding from national governing bodies and section 106 agreements.

Businessman Stuart Murphy has agreed to donate £200,000 to the scheme and the Community Trust, the charitable arm of Chester FC, now aims to raise £300,000 through public donations, fundraising events and working with local businesses to bring the plans to fruition.

Jim Green, chief executive of Chester FC Community Trust, said: “This is a hugely exciting project and will create an outstanding sports facility in the heart of the Chester community.

“We have worked closely with key stakeholders in developing the scheme and we believe it will have huge benefits for the community and grassroots sport in Cheshire West.

“It has taken a lot of work to get to this point but the really hard work starts now to raise the money needed to make this fantastic facility a reality, and we hope the community will get behind our campaign.”

FWP has successfully advised more than 80 sports clubs across the UK on their redevelopment and modernisation plans with many of them going on to design and build modern new facilities.

Championship club Preston North End’s striking Deepdale ground was led by FWP and ambitious National League club AFC Fylde’s new home at Mill Farm on the Fylde coast is another award-winning project from the FWP team.

FWP is also working with Scunthorpe United to design a striking 12,000 capacity all-seater stadium for the Football League club.

It has created stunning new facilities for Fleetwood Town, Peterborough United and Oldham Athletic and is developing stadia and community assets for clubs such as Leamington, Forest Green Rovers and 1874 Northwich.

FC United of Manchester is another club that has benefited from FWP’s expertise in its work to create its first home.