The schemes include the provision of new all-weather sports hubs in the city as part of a £18 million project. The hubs are based at the Community North Sports Complex in Downhill, Ford Quarry and at the Northern Area Playing Fields in Washington. The project sees Esh appointed for the master planning, logistics and interface between pavilion and pitch work football hubs.
The development is part of a national campaign that’s being headed by the Football Foundation. The goal is to provide state-of-the-art facilities and 4G pitches to support the development of grass roots football. Four new artificial floodlit football pitches are being created at the Washington site, one of which can be used for rugby, and a further six pitches across the area, to complement the existing grass pitches.
Paul Redman, Divisional Direction of Esh Build, said: “The project will mean that there’ll be less cancellations due to poor weather, so there’ll be more game time. All hubs have extensive water attenuation ensuring pitches and car parking areas are well drained.”
All three site projects, which commenced in January, are expected to be finished by the end of 2019. Sunderland City Council leader, Graeme Miller, believes it will help get Sunderland more active: “This is the biggest investment in football by the FA in England. They’ve never given £18million to anybody and they’ve given it to Sunderland.
“When you look at the success of England’s Women’s football team, with seven of their squad having gone through Sunderland, and the men’s football team with Jordan Pickford and Jordan Henderson, you see football is the key sport in Sunderland.
“I want more people playing football. But these pitches will also be used for rugby and the facilities will be used for general health. It’s about getting Sunderland active. Our Step-Up Sunderland programme ties into that.
“When these pitches are ready, hopefully people will use them and we’ll have more successful footballers, a successful football club back in the Premier League and everybody having a good time.”
Esh Construction recently opened a project office in Sunderland as it continues to deliver major construction projects including the Strategic Transport Corridor, enabling works at the International Advanced Manufacturing Park and the Football Foundation’s Sports Hubs.
This project is great news for the city of Sunderland. It will help to provide local schools and football clubs with the highest standard of facilities which can be used across sports and health-based activities.”