Published: 09:59, 12 February 2021
| Updated: 11:41, 12 February 2021
New training pitches will be laid at Ashford United’s ground as the football club aims to increase capacity in the face of huge demand for its facilities.
Bosses say they no longer have enough space to cater for the adult and youth teams wanting to use their Homelands Stadium.
In October, they applied to Ashford Borough Council (ABC) for permission to build two five-a-side 3G pitches on an open area next to their home ground.
The scheme - which includes a single-storey changing facility that will be constructed alongside the all-weather pitches - was approved yesterday.
The application site has been used for football training in the past, however the surface was found to be unsuitable and is no longer used.
Over the last 10 years, bosses say they have invested £600,000 into the stadium, which is also home to Kennington Football Club and is used as a training ground by several non-league teams.
In the application, which was submitted by club director Don Crosbie, the club said its existing 3G pitch laid in 2015 has been “extremely successful”.
“Ashford United Football Club (AUFC) is now at a point where it no longer has enough space to cater for the increasing demand for training, coaching and matches,” it said.
“Maintaining the football side of the business has only been possible through the diversification of the business over the last 10 years to provide function rooms that can be hired to the public and generate revenue.
“Financially supporting grassroots football is increasingly difficult and Ashford United hopes to utilise the large area of land around the existing Homelands Stadium that is currently scrub, grass and informal hard landscaping to provide training facilities for the football club without the need of hiring external facilities, and improve Homelands Park as a whole.”
The club says its current pitch is in use seven days a week when Covid-19 rules allow and no further bookings can be made.
It added: “The ambition is for the site to provide much-needed additional sports facilities for the growing AUFC community that includes hundreds of people for different ages, backgrounds and abilities."
Kingsnorth Parish Council showed its support for the application, which features 14 parking spaces.
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