PLANS to replace Mangotsfield United’s grass pitch with artificial turf have been submitted to South Gloucestershire Council.
It comes as the club launches an online donation page aimed at raising £20,000 towards the cost of the £1.2 million project.
The Voice reported last month that the club believes it can increase accessibility and use of the Cossham Street ground by schools and other organisations with the 3G all-weather surface.
The plans also include new LED floodlighting and widening the margins around the sides of the pitch to meet new safety guidelines aimed at preventing head injuries to players.
This will involve expanding the ground on one side, moving the boundary 5m (about 16ft) into the neighbouring Hut Field, which is used by the community as well as for some club training sessions.
A statement submitted with the plans by consultants Surfacing Standards Ltd gives details of the changes involved, including the 106m x 70m 3G artificial grass pitch, hardstanding for viewing areas and goal storage, an equipment store and two new team shelters.
New perimeter fencing, combining 1.8m (5ft 9in) wooden fencing and 4.5m (about 15ft) ‘ball-stop’ wire fencing and a new pitch perimeter barrier is also planned.
The plans also include details of eight new columns for LED floodlights, which at 15m (49ft) tall would be shorter than the existing four 18m (59ft) columns on each corner.
A “light spillage” diagram shows that less light would spill into the surrounding area than under the current lights.
The club is applying for hours of use to be between 8am and 10pm on weekdays and 8am-9pm on weekends, with a specific clause allowing it to stay open longer on “infrequent” occasions when cup matches go into extra time and penalties.
A ‘noise management plan’ would be put in place to minimise the impact on people living nearby.
The artificial pitch would be available for training not only by the first team but by partner clubs including the juniors, women’s side and AFC Mangotsfield, rugby teams, walking football teams and disability sports.
As the Voice went to press the plans had received 36 comments, 35 in support and one neutral, including from residents, supporters and parents of some of the young players who will benefit from the improved training facilities.
One said: “There are limited places for football matches to take place during the winter and this would ensure our young people have more of a chance to play their games, keeping them active and making sure the season stays on track even during the bad weather months.”
Another said: “It would benefit the whole club, and that is a lot of young and older people. All teams would be able to play/train on it, which would strengthen the club spirit and the club’s funds.
“For me the pride of young people playing on the pitch at the heart of the club would boost their performance and their alliance to the club.”
The plans can be viewed by searching for application P23/02781/F on South Gloucestershire Council’s planning website.
Glyn Ashton, who as well as being the first team manager is a trustee and chair of the Mangotsfield & Blackhorse Sports and Community Association, said: “Now that formal planning has gone in, it’s been great to see so many positive comments coming in supporting the project.
“We’re now looking at the final push of fundraising towards this project and we hope that our partners and the wider community, who will ultimately benefit from this facility, will help us push it forward.
“There will be lots of fundraising initiatives and activities going on over the next few months and we really hope the community will support this important project.
“We will be keeping everyone updated with our progress and if anyone has any fundraising suggestions or would like to help in any other way please contact us.”
The fundraising page can be found at justgiving.com/campaign/project24