The Council embarked on this project back in 2016, when it agreed with developer of the new North Stoneham housing development, Highwood Homes, to undertake the delivery of the grass football pitches and associated facilities being provided at the Monks Brook playing fields to replace those being lost at Stoneham Park and Jubilee Playing Fields as part of the North Stoneham housing and community development.
The Council engaged with the Football Association, Sport England and the Premier League to secure £4.9 million grant funding from the national Parklife scheme to significantly enhance the facilities being provided at the site, to deliver a state of the art football hub for the local community to benefit from.
The Parklife Football Hub programme aims to create a sustainable model for football facilities based around artificial grass pitches on hub sites. Parklife aims to deliver Hub sites in key football communities nationwide, by providing multiple floodlit 3G football pitches which are accessible to the local football and wider community. The Hubs aim to encourage physical activity and enhance the playing experience for all ages and abilities, whilst reducing the games reliance on local authority subsidy to maintain grass pitches in wet winter weather conditions.
What is being provided?
The new £8M football Hub set to be called ‘Stoneham Lane’ will consist of 1 full-size, and 2 enlarged floodlit 3G artificial grass pitches, 4 well maintained junior and senior grass pitches, together with an eight changing room pavilion, clubroom and cafe.
The new facility will become a central venue for the Eastleigh and District Mini Soccer League (EDMSL), and will provide over 130 local teams in the Under 7 and Under 10 age groups the opportunity to play on state of the art 3G pitches every week without being thwarted by cancellations due to poor quality grass pitches and the English weather.
Paul Taylor, Chairman of the EDMSL said, “This will be a fantastic facility for the EDMSL and I am sure that local children will love playing there. We have a lot of cancellations due to inclement weather and poor pitches and to now be able to play every week on 3G pitches will be great.”
The hub will also be the new home of thriving local club AFC Stoneham who have over 25 teams and whose men’s first XI play in the Wessex League. Chairman Mark Stupple said: “We are excited to move our whole club of 500 plus players and coaches into our new home where all of our teams will train and play matches. The move to an outstanding new facility will allow our club to grow and develop further ensuring that we fulfil our aspirations both as a grassroots community club and Wessex League team.”
The facility will be available to local clubs to hire for training and matches throughout the year, as well as becoming a key venue for coach education courses in Hampshire.
When will it open?
The 3G pitches and pavilion at the new facility are scheduled to be open to the public in Autumn 2019 and will be run the Hampshire County FA. The grass pitches are scheduled to be available in 2020.