New Mills FC directors consider sale of land for housing to fund new pitch

The board of New Mills Football Club has addressed speculation over a new planning application for 20 affordable homes on land surrounding its ground, saying it is still exploring options and potential community benefits.
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Chester-based developer Cityheart Homes Ltd has submitted plans to High Peak Borough Council for a 1.7 acre site which curves around the northern side of the Church Lane ground.

The planning documents, just published online by the council, note “the football club have elected to sell the site” to “resource an investment into the NMFC to facilitate their on growing viability and function” but the board is keen to stress that it should not be considered a done deal at this stage.

In a joint statement, the directors said: “As previously stated, during the past two years the club has been exploring various options to further develop the facilities on the Church Lane site, including the possibility of installing a 3G all weather pitch in collaboration with the Football Foundation, which would replace the existing grass pitch and be available for use by the whole community, particularly the local schools and junior football teams.

The proposed layout for the development at the back of the football ground.The proposed layout for the development at the back of the football ground.
The proposed layout for the development at the back of the football ground.

“As part of this scheme we would need to contribute to the significant costs associated with installing such a 3G pitch and consequently we have been in discussions with various organisations about ways in which we could possibly release some of the spare land around the ground to fund our share of the scheme’s costs, however, contrary to some reports, the land in question has not been purchased by CityHeart Ltd.”

They added: “Discussions between the Football Foundation and ourselves are continuing independently of the CityHeart planning application and we would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that we are committed to ensuring that the football club and its facilities remain at the heart of the local community as it has been for the past 100 years.”

The land in question is currently designated for coach parking, a television mast and an astroturf pitch and tennis courts – which the planning application says have been superseded by newer courts 200 metres away at New Mills Bowls, Cricket and Tennis Club.

The two-and three-bed homes are all proposed as shared ownership properties to increase affordability – owners typically buy a 25 per cent stake in the overall value and then pay rent and service charges.

The layout would see four plots back on to homes on Low Leighton Road, and the others arranged in four semi-detached or terraced rows bordering the woodland running behind Willow Stream and St George’s Road.

Each home would have off-street parking, with access via the existing football ground driveway off Church Lane, alongside St George’s Road and St George’s Primary School.

So far, public responses to the application have been unanimous in objecting to the plans, with residents biggest concern being that current traffic problems would be made even worse, especially given the loss of the club’s own parking area. The county highways authority has yet to publish its response.

Application HPK/2022/0350 is open for public comments until Thursday, November 3, and the football club has asked that any feedback be directed via the appropriate channels at www.highpeak.gov.uk.

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