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Revamped sports pitch will not suit hockey club

Resurfaced pitch will be primarily for football, despite Yateley Hockey Club seeking new facility

Hart District Council
Hart District Council plans to upgrade the Yateley sports pitches

Hart District Council plans to upgrade one of its sports pitches in Yateley, but not all clubs will benefit.

Pre-application advice has been sought to resurface the synthetic multi-use pitch at Frogmore Leisure Centre in Potley Hill Road to meet sport performance requirements.

The ‘primary use’ for the revamped pitch will be for football even though Yateley Hockey Club has been seeking training facilities in the area.

Councillor Adrian Collett, town, district and county councillor for Yateley, said: “Around 95% of those who use the pitch are football clubs. Whilst it will be good for football groups in the area, it does cause a bit of a problem for hockey.

“We have been supporting hockey players to find a place to train, including possibly the site at Chandlers Lane and sites in Eversley.

“We are very keen to find a solution.”

Proposals for the artificial pitch, built in 1994 and refurbished in 2005, include not only resurfacing and extension works, but also new fencing and a new access path and steps.

It is also proposed that the pitch would meet the current requirements of the Inter-national Hockey Federation and FIFA 1 Star in respect of performance standards.

Yateley Hockey Club has used the pitch at Frogmore Leisure Centre for a number of years.

Rob Rowe, from the hockey club, said: “We know that Frogmore now requires resurfacing as the current surface has reached the end of its life and we are obviously keen for a new one to be laid.

“We have been engaged in discussions regarding this for some time, however we understand from these discussions that there is a desire to replace the current surface with one that is predominantly suitable for football.

“We can understand why the council wants a surface that is favoured by the majority sport, however we are sceptical that the replacement surface chosen will be suitable for competitive hockey.”

Mr Rowe said the 2008 guidelines quoted in the pre-planning application were updated in 2013, meaning the new surface included in the application would need to be tested after resurfacing.

England Hockey guidelines state that these surfaces can still only be used for the lowest category of hockey.

Mr Rowe added: “We and England Hockey have engaged constructively with the council to review options for astroturf surfaces that will meet the needs of all sports in the area.

“These discussions continue and might include the development of new facilities since there is more demand for hockey provision than current capacity can supply in the Hart area.”

The council’s planning team is currently looking at the proposals.

Cllr Graham Cockarill, Yateley councillor and chairman of Hart’s planning committee, said: “It is really good to see more sports facilities proposed for Yateley.

“The recent focus for sports facilities has been at Sean Deveraux Park, so it is good to see the residents of eastern Yateley, Darby Green and Frogmore now being catered for.

“Hopefully, this will give youth teams in the area the chance to play and for others to get involved in sport.”

 
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