Thanks to an creative approach, the new Cranfield Pavilion will provide facilities for local grassroots football teams to use from the 2021-2022 season.
The £2.2 million project was made possible as a result of the excellent relationship between Central Bedfordshire Council, local Ward Members and the Bedfordshire Football Association (FA), that led to discussions with Bloor Homes and Cranfield Parish Council to explore the potential enhancements of the site. The aim was to provide a full-size 3G pitch with facilities to enable vital winter training provision and match play options to serve teams in Cranfield and the surrounding area.
Bloor Homes was required to provide a new sports ground with a grass football pitch and a pavilion as part of the adjacent new housing development (Cranfield Park); but the partners identified the opportunity to enhance this provision by bidding for a Football Foundation grant. Negotiations led to Bloor providing £1.1m in lieu of building the required basic grass pitch, enabling partners to put forward a bid to the Football Foundation for further funds to deliver an amazing floodlit 3G pitch instead.
The funds from Bloor Homes were bolstered by a successful funding award from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation who provided a grant of £780,956, which enabled the delivery of the 3G pitch and pavilion.
As the new owners of the site, Cranfield Parish Council were confident that the Bedfordshire FA, as a not-for-profit organisation, would be best placed to run the scheme and operate the finished facility for the benefit of football and the community. The Parish Council have worked extremely hard with the Bedfordshire FA to successfully complete this project.
Cohesive foresight and planning by the partners and stakeholders contributed to the creation of an impressive state of the art facility that boasts a fully Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant pavilion with two team changing rooms, male and female official changing rooms, education classroom, small office space, spectator toilets, kitchen servery and 67 car parking spaces.
Cranfield Colts and Cranfield United are the main partner clubs in Cranfield but the facility will enable the growth and development of affiliated male, female and disability football catering for a wide range of users. The site will also be the base for the Advanced Coaching Centre for Girls which is part of the England Talent Pathway, providing recreational opportunities to increase participation through initiatives like Walking Football, Just Play sessions and Veterans Football.
PCH Associates designed the site and SDC Builders Ltd were appointed as main contractors for the build of the pavilion and car park that started on the 13th July 2020. Charles Lawrence were appointed by Robinson Low Francis to oversee the delivery of the 3G pitch, fencing and floodlighting as part of the Football Foundation 3G pitch framework procurement process which is required to ensure the pitch meets the quality standard required for inclusion on the 3G Pitch Register.
Alan Young, CEO of Bedfordshire FA said: “Bedfordshire FA are delighted to be able to open this incredible new site for the local community, however it would not have been made possible without the support of Central Bedfordshire Council, Bloor Homes and Cranfield Parish Council in turning this vision into a reality. I would also like to place on record our thanks to the Football Foundation, Castele Ltd, PCH Associates and SDC Builders Ltd for their collective involvement and role they each played in ensuring that our local community now have a much needed facility to be proud of. This will not only help our existing clubs but will also support the growth of football locally by providing a top-class facility for every user that experiences it. We can’t wait to officially open the new facility in conjunction with the support of colleagues at the Football Foundation when government guidelines allow.”
CBC Ward Councillor Sue Clark said: “We are delighted it has been possible to bring forward this wonderful facility for the community to enjoy. Cranfield Parish Council have worked incredibly hard with Bedfordshire FA to deliver this project and should be warmly congratulated.”
Councillor Delise Ball, Chair of Cranfield Parish Council said "I am delighted this wonderful facility is now ready and will fufil a much needed football requirement within Cranfield and Central Bedfordshire. This was only achieved by much hard work and finance by all partners including Cranfield Parish Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, the Football Foundation, Bedfordshire FA and Local Clubs".