'Absolutely essential' new Hartlepool football club pavilion is approved

Plans have been approved for a new sports pavilion to support a popular youth football club.

Monday, 27th December 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Monday, 27th December 2021, 1:39 pm

Proposals were submitted to Hartlepool Borough Council planning department earlier this year to create a building providing “welfare, refreshment and shelter” at St Francis football pitches in Rossmere Way.

The plans, from Trevor Robinson at Hartlepool St Francis Junior Football Club, stated the pitches are used by “hundreds of children” from the club each week, with no pavilion or clubhouse on offer.

Current welfare facilities on the site are portable toilets while three shipping containers offer storage.

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St Francis Football Club, in Rossmere Way, Hartlepool.

A report from council planning officer Stephanie Bell has now confirmed the proposals for the new sports pavilion have been given the go-ahead.

A design and access statement from The Football Architect, on behalf of the applicant, argues the pavilion is “absolutely essential for the long-term viability of the club”.

It said: “Secondary objectives include establishing a clear and visible presence on site, creating a sense of ownership and increasing dwell time for users to help foster a sense of club and by extension also community.

“Without providing these ancillary facilities there is a very real risk of young people leaving the club and ultimately missing out on all the benefits participating in organised sports can bring.”

The pavilion is to feature a social space, kitchen, office, storage areas and toilet facilities, along with outdoor seating.

Two responses from residents had been submitted to the council ahead of the decision being made, raising concerns over issues such as parking and traffic and potential litter nuisance at the site.

Yet council officers ruled the proposals complied with planning policies and should be approved.