Application submitted for changing rooms at Richmond football pitch

The entrance to the playing fields at Swalegate, Richmond.

A planning application has been submitted for new changing facilities and an extended car park for a football pitch in Richmond.

Richmond Town FC wants to improve facilities at the playing fields in Swalegate, which are used by its junior teams.

An application has been submitted to Richmondshire District Council for a new stone-built changing facilities, including a kitchen. and a storage room.

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The applications also proposes the extension of the car park at the site with space for an extra eight cars.

The application was submitted by Jon Rutherford, chair of the football club.

He said the club now had 20 football teams ranging from soccer tots to an over 40s team.

He added: “With nearly 500 players across the club we are expanding all the time which in turn increases our demand for pitches and the facilities we need to cater for a club of our size.

“The Swalegate site is a particularly popular site for a large number of our junior teams who use it for both training and playing matches.

“Our wish is to now to improve the site further for all the children by building a pavilion which would offer changing facilities, toilets and a kitchen area for refreshments.”

 

Four members of the public have commented on the plans so far, with two objecting and two neutral.

One of those who objected said: “The football club already have full use of the pitch several times a week. They have full facilities nearby which they already use at Richmond School and Earls Orchard which can cater for parking etc without causing disturbance to residents.

“By building a club house you increase the likelihood of children hanging around it on a night.

“This will be an attraction for children including those from nearby estates. This will increase the risk of crime, litter and noise.”

Mr Rutherford added: “As a club we totally appreciate the concerns of the local residents and to this end we sent letters to the residents of Swalegate, inviting all to a meeting to listen to our proposals, take a look at the proposed plans and to ask any questions or raise any concerns.

“We actually held two separate meetings with the residents and found both meetings to be really positive in terms of the feedback we received.

“Our challenge as a club and one which came out of both the meetings are the concerns that the residents have in terms of us ensuring we continue to properly maintain the site.”

The district council was criticised in 2015 by local residents after it transferred the land behind the Whitefields estate in Richmond to Richmond Town Football Club to allow their growing membership extra space to play.

The council advertised its intention to dispose of many of its parks and open spaces in 2012 – but some residents claimed it did not go far enough to inform them of plans for the land.