The new pitch will help create a new football hub for students, local sports clubs and the wider community.
The plan to improve the site as a new Football Hub is a key project within the Central 6 Regeneration Masterplan delivery plan, which covers a wide range of project areas from parks, sport and leisure, to housing, air quality and employment.
The Cardinal Newman project supports a key Central 6 Masterplan objective of giving young people and the wider community increased opportunities to participate in positive activities. It also responds to a priority raised by the community during the masterplan consultation, to improve access to high quality sports pitches and facilities.
Contractors are now on site at the school, to carry out the replacement of the existing artificial turf with a new, state-of-the-art 3G pitch. This follows refurbishment works to the sports hall flooring recently completed to enhance the Futsal facilities held at the site.
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.
It 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.
Cardinal Newman Headteacher, Jo Langstaff, joined council members, staff and contractors on site to celebrate the start of work.
Jo said: “We have a proud sporting tradition at Cardinal Newman, but we have been without a 3G pitch for a very long time. We are really grateful for the support of Warrington Borough Council and the Football Foundation in helping us to realise our ambition of having the excellent sporting facilities which our students and our local community deserve. The students can’t wait for the pitch to open.”
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.
Warrington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for children’s services, Cllr Sarah Hall said: “The start of work on the new football facility at Cardinal Newman High School is great news for the area. It will bring huge benefits to students and residents of all ages and abilities and create a first class sporting facility which the whole community can be proud of. I’m delighted work is under way.”
Cabinet Member for leisure and community, Cllr Tony Higgins, said: “This is a really important project which will increase opportunities for local students and residents to be physically active, supporting health and wellbeing, education, social inclusion and community cohesion. Having a centre of footballing excellence will give Cardinal Newman High School and the wider area a real boost, and I’m very much looking forward to the opening of the facility.”
The project also 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.
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.
The contractors for project are FieldTurf, with nominated sub-contractors S&C Slatter. Work is expected to be completed in February 2023.