Rothbury Football Club lodges plans for ground revamp
Rothbury Football Club has lodged plans for major regeneration works at its grounds in Armstrong Park.
The ambitious, state-of-the-art ‘green’ plans include a new clubhouse, accessible paths, 4G training area, floodlighting, outdoor seating and a covered seated area with sedum roofs and a ground-source heat pump.
The car park, if permission is granted, will expand to accommodate 40 extra cars.
The club’s statement of intent to the local authority says the redevelopment is about more than upgrading “substandard” facilities that have been in need of refurbishment for years.
Sir Bobby Charlton played on the pitch for Northumberland County juniors and a veteran Chris Waddle appeared there for a visiting side – now Rothbury FC wants the facilities to match the award-winning ground.
Groundsman Eric Cummings was named the Northumberland FA and Sir Bobby Robson Foundation Groundsman of the Year in 2019 after working for decades on the pitch with limited resources.
The club also wants to create “a new junior football development” and, according to the statement, the proposed plans and junior development go hand-in-hand.
Chairman of the club Dan Herron wrote: “It is important to note here that these two concepts cannot exist in isolation, where the successful re-development of Armstrong Park will be instrumental in the transformation of junior football development in the Coquet Valley and beyond.”
Mr Herron stressed the social importance of the club, stating that if permitted the redevelopment would offer “a new and exciting hub for sporting participation, community belonging and an epicentre for football development in north Northumberland”.
These sentiments have already been mirrored by the public, many of whom have publically supported the application on the council’s online planning portal.
Michael Alexander lodged a comment in support of the application saying: “This is an amazing and exciting proposed development for the Coquet Valley. Support it 100%”.
Rothbury resident Dennis Reygate said: “Great development for the health and wellbeing of the community for all ages and genders. Fully support this application.”
Local Jennifer Edes also commented on the proposols, saying: “I would support this application. It will be great for Rothbury Football Club and also great for the village and the up-and-coming younger footballers of the village and the valley.”
Mr Herron added: “There has been a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes to bring this to fruition, and all club officials feel this is the type of development needed to improve football and sport for the Coquet Valley and surrounding areas.
“It has been a long-term ambition of the club to bring facilities that match the quality of playing surface and picturesque setting, and this planning bid is the first step on that journey.
“My aim is to get us to the Premier Division of the Northern Alliance League – that’s my chairman’s aim. If we compete in that league with the new facilities, I will be happy.”
The upgrades may form part of Rothbury’s recovery from Covid-19. The chairman hopes that refurbishments will encourage schools and other bodies to access the new facilities, including indoor, on the condition of funding.
The plans can be viewed and commented on at the online Northumberland County Council Planning Portal.