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Plans for new All Weather Sports Centre

For the past 18 months Norton Knatchbull School have been planning a replacement for its existing all weather pitch which is now well beyond its design-life.

Today the School announces a bold plan for a multi sports all weather facility on the Cradlebridge site behind the school which would also allow for substantial local community and club usage.

The planned multisport facility includes:

  • All weather interchangeable 4G football / rugby pitch;
  • Sand dressed hockey pitch;
  • Four five-a-side football pitches
  • A sports pavilion including changing rooms; clubhouse facilities; and other recreational space;
  • Full floodlighting; and
  • 150 plus car parking spaces.

The facility will have dual access via the School and the Henwood Industrial Estate which will provide for 7 day a week usage without any adverse impact on residential properties but with easy access from the Town Centre.

 Head Teacher Susanne Staab said: “We are very proud of our students’ amazing track record of success in sports. We do have a good indoor facilities and good playing fields but at a time when the school is planning for growth we currently find ourselves using other off-site sports facilities plus we urgently need to replace our all weather pitch which is well beyond its design life. The Cradlebridge playing fields are only partially usable at present and this new facility will revolutionise our sporting facilities.”

‘’We have been in consultation with both Ashford Borough Council and Kent County Council for 18 months and have been encouraged by their support.  The planned new facilities would represent an important addition to the School’s existing facilities however the scheme will only succeed if we can encourage local community use including the possibility of local sports clubs seeing the facility as a permanent home’’

Head of PE and Sports Studies Mr Leonard added: “We know that sport is very important to many of our students and staff as well as the wider community. The new facilities will increase our capacity, allowing us to accommodate more training and matches that would otherwise be constrained by daylight and poor weather.”

Once finished, the area will offer modern playing surfaces that meet FA standards which can be used for club matches and extended club Summer School events. The artificial surfaces are more robust and maintain a good playing surface even during periods of poor weather. There are plans for ample parking and a sports pavilion with changing facilities and clubhouse and other recreational space.

Vice Chairman of Governors Neil McClure explained: “The Cradlebridge fields are an under used facility and are unique in being so close to the Town Centre with easy access via Javelin Way.  As envisaged, a new access road will be built onto the site as part of a planned redevelopment of land adjoining our site by Kent County Council.  NKS currently welcomes many members of the local community who regularly use our current gym and other facilities. We now wish to engage with local clubs and community groups as well as national sporting bodies before finalising our plans to approach funding and grant making bodies.   When I was Chairman of Swansea City Football Club I oversaw the planning permission for the new stadium which has revolutionised the local sporting scene., I believe that these new facilities are equally important for the development of sporting success in Ashford and the enhancement of the School’s outstanding reputation for sport”

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