Image of the Football Foundation logo.

Plans for a new 3G pitch at Cardinal Newman High School have been approved by Warrington Borough Council.

The Council’s Cabinet has given the go ahead for the construction of the new pitch, paving the way to the award of a contract to a successful tenderer who can deliver the project.

The £1.2m scheme is being supported through a successful grant application of £589,000 from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation, with the reminder of the funding coming through the Warrington Town Deal, Warrington Borough Council and Cardinal Newman High School.

It will see the replacement of the existing artificial turf at the school with a new, state-of-the-art 3G pitch, along with improvements to the adjacent grass pitches and new Futsal facilities.

The new pitch will consist of an artificial grass (3G) surface with floodlights, security fencing, CCTV, controlled gates, and space for spectators. The pitch will be marked to cater for 11-a-side, 9 a side, 7-a-side and 5-a-side football.

The project will help create a strategic football hub at the school, with school students, the community and local clubs benefitting from the new 3G pitch as well as increased opportunities to enjoy Futsal in the school sports hall.

Designed with equality and diversity in mind, the new facility will enhance the provision of accessible sports space within the high school and provide new football opportunities for people of all ages and abilities.

School students will use the site for curriculum PE and after school participation between 9am and 5pm. It will be available for community use from 5pm-10pm on weekdays and between 9am and 8pm on weekends. Livewire will manage the site during the hours of community use.

Work is expected to start this month, with an anticipated completion date of November 2022.

Warrington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for children’s services, Cllr Sarah Hall said: “It’s great news that our plans for this important project are moving forward. It will provide Cardinal Newman High School with a first class facility which will bring huge benefits to students and the wider community, creating a centre of football excellence, and supporting health, education, social inclusion and community cohesion for people of a range of ages and abilities.”

Cardinal Newman High School sits within the Central 6 Regeneration Masterplan area, and aligns with the council’s priorities to improve access to sports pitches and facilities identified by the community during development of the masterplan.

The Council’s Cabinet Member for leisure and community, Cllr Tony Higgins, said: “I’m delighted that this project has been given the go-ahead. It will allow us to further develop football and sport in the area, with accessible, high quality football facilities, which provide more opportunity for local students and residents to be physically active, irrespective of their level of play. It’s the latest boost to our Central 6 Masterplan work, which aims to provide better opportunities for people to improve their health and wellbeing.”

Headteacher of Cardinal Newman, Jo Langstaff, said: “Our school has been without a pitch for many years, after the previous pitch was condemned due to flooding and damage, leaving our students without suitable outdoor facilities. 

“The new pitch will make a huge difference to the sporting opportunities and curriculum we can offer to our young people and the facilities we can offer to our local community.  The students and staff are absolutely delighted that our long wait is finally over. 

“We could not have achieved this without the hard work and support of Warrington Borough Council who have been wonderful to work with and to whom we are extremely grateful.”

Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “This grant awarded to Cardinal Newman High School towards developing a new 3G artificial grass pitch is great news for the local community.

It will support people’s ability to play our national game locally and therefore help unlock football’s many benefits to physical and mental wellbeing. That’s why we’re committed to transforming the face of grassroots football facilities in this country.

The Football Foundation is working closely with our partners – the Premier League, The FA, Government through Sport England – to support facility development projects like this across the country over the next decade to transform our grassroots game and unlock the power of pitches.”

The project forms part of the Council’s Playing Pitch Strategy (PPS), refreshed in January 2020, which incorporates the Local Football Facilities Plan, produced by the Football Foundation and Football Association to support local authorities in identifying current and future facility needs.