A sporting chance for local community

Posted on August 20th, 2013

Roland Dransfield Public Affairs has succeeded in helping Goals Soccer Centre secure planning permission for new sports facilities in Manchester’s  Heaton Park.

The Manchester City Council planning committee agreed the proposal which was submitted by Goals Soccer Centres, to create the facility, which will include small-sided football pitches, tennis and netball courts, a climbing wall and changing rooms. Roland Dransfield undertook a community consultation programme for Goals in support of the application.

Pupils at St Monica’s school (pictured) are among young people in the area who currently have limited access to a full range of quality sports facilities and who will benefit from being able to use the sport zone free of charge in term time.

Councillor Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council’s executive member for culture and leisure said: “This is great news for the park and great news for the local community. A key priority for the City Council is to make sport more accessible to residents and so it’s particularly important that the facilities will be available either free of charge or at discounted rates for 60% of the time for community groups.

“It’s reasonable that the local community can expect to access sports facilities in a park, especially in one the size of Heaton Park, where there is plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the surroundings. We have open-air theatre, a public golf course, a boating lake, horseriding and a farm, and these sports facilities are a welcome addition and continue the investment that the city has made to improve the park over the last decade. The Heaton Park Trust volunteers have been campaigning since the mid 1990s for facilities like this in the park to improve access to sports and ultimately health and fitness for the benefit of the wider community and I’m delighted these plans are now coming to fruition.”

Goals Soccer Centre, will develop the new facility and managing director Keith Rogers added: “Getting the approval today means that we can move forward now to bring these of much needed sports facilities to Heaton Park. We have pledged to make over 300 hours community use available every week and schools such as St Monica’s will really benefit from having this stunning new resource on their doorstep.”

The brand new facility will be tucked away in the northwest area of the park next to the bowling-green and pavilion, which were purpose built for the Commonwealth Games in 2002. It will be created in the area traditionally utilised for sports activity and will use 3.4 hectares of the 260-hectare park, leaving the rest of the park’s vast landscape undisturbed and enabling the other park activities to continue as normal.

The new facilities will see the return of tennis courts to the park, after they were removed from the historic core of the park as part of its ongoing restoration, funded in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The new facilities will see the return of tennis courts to the park, after they were removed from the historic core of the park as part of its ongoing restoration, funded in partnership with the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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