New Football Pitches – Here Are The Proposals




For those who are interested, here’s the report that’s going to the cabinet next week on creating two junior football pitches and three mini-pitches near the Rayleigh Leisure Centre. There’s also a separate map (appendix A) that you can download, but some of it is rather faint. So we’ve produced a sketch map, below:

Sketch map of Proposed Football Pitches

1 SUMMARY 1.1 The purpose of this report is to provide Members with an update on the progress being made in relation to the Sweyne Park Extension Project, and in particular, to gain approval to the design lay-out of the site. The report alsoseeks Members? views on the future management / usage of the facility.

2.1 As part of the development of the former Park School site in Rayleigh, there are six acres of land that have been designated as open space land and, more specifically, for use as football pitches (preferably junior and mini pitches as there is a shortage within the District compared to adult pitches).
2.2 This land was transferred by the County Council to the District as part of theoverall package that also involved land for the Cherry Orchard Jubilee Country Park and is located to the rear of Rayleigh Leisure Centre, adjoining the existing Sweyne Park open space

3.1 Following the completion of the leisure centre, an arrangement was made with Wimpey Homes, who are building on the opposite side of the site, for them to locate their compound on the ?pitches site? on a temporary basis. In return, Wimpey agreed not only to remove all their equipment/rubble etc., but also to reinstate the area of land that they occupied, undertaking ground works which left the area in a state ready for seeding. This work has now been completed.
3.2 Over the last few months, and in order to maintain the area in a reasonably tidy condition, it has been cleared of vegetation and weed growth. Wimpey, as part of their planning conditions, have also now completed the installation of a new bridle path that is marked on the design lay-out, included as Appendix A to this report.

3.3 A planning application has been submitted for change of use for the pitches and associated car parking, with an anticipated timescale of the end of October for this application to be considered by the Development Control Committee.
3.4 A report was taken to the West Area Committee of 4 September 2007 which also gave information on the progress of this project. Members of the Area Committee acknowledged the progress that has been made so far and were keen to see the project further developed, with a view to having the pitches in use by September 2009. There were a number of comments from members of the public attending the Area Committee that, whilst in favour of the pitches,
did make reference to the extra traffic that could be generated in this area.

3.5 Consideration has also been given to trying to access external funding to assist the financing of this project and, as a result, officers have been in discussions with the Football Association about the possibility of grant funding under the Football Foundation banner. This has included site meetings with the Football Association?s representative and the commissioning of a Soil
Assessment and General Advisory Report outlining the approximate costs of the various elements of the project. This is a pre-requisite of a funding application, and the initial indication is that a bid for this project could be successful.

3.6 A quotation has been obtained for the pitch preparation works that includes general ground works, drainage, seeding etc. This quotation is from a specialist contractor, previously employed by this Authority, who is fully aware of the particular issues associated with the type of ground conditions in this area of the County and is considerably cheaper that the estimated costs detailed in the consultant?s report mentioned above.
3.7 Access to external funding could be further enhanced by working in partnership with a local junior club. An approach was received from Rayleigh Boys Football Club, expressing their wish to use the site as their ?home base? and putting forward options for management of the site that involved them maintaining the pitches at their cost.
3.8 In order to fairly assess all the usage/management options, a letter was sent to all football association affiliated junior clubs in the District requesting them to register their interest in use of the site. Five replies were received from Rayleigh Boys Football Club, Hambro Colts, Downhall United Youth Football Club, Rayleigh Raiders Girls and Ladies Football Club and Hawkwell Athletic Football Club. A follow-up meeting has been arranged with these five clubs
for 4 October, to gather further details about each of the clubs and their proposals/requirements. It is hoped that information from this meeting with the clubs can be brought to this meeting of the Executive Board for consideration.

3.9 As previously mentioned, Appendix A shows the proposed lay-out of the site, which includes the suggested number of pitches, additional car parking, the new bridle path constructed by Wimpey and its general position in relation to Sweyne Park and Rayleigh Leisure Centre. The aim of the design is to make the most of the available space, locating the pitches in the most appropriate location and taking account the pitches to car parking ratio, which with junior
pitches is particularly important. The proposal is to have a mix of five junior and mini pitches, as a need for both has been identified.

3.10 The proposed lay-out would avoid having to divert the newly constructed bridle path and also keeps the pitches further away from the neighbouring houses and site spine road. It also brings into use the remote square of land that up until now has been part of Sweyne Park.

3.11 With regard to costings for the project, the actual creation of the pitches could be met within this year?s budget allocation of ?50,000. A further budget bid of ?75,000 is being made for 2008/09 in respect of the cost of providing the car parking and changing facilities. The size, and therefore the cost, of the changing facilities may be influenced by the conditions attached to any external funding if a bid is successful.

3.12 Subject to approval of this design lay-out and approval of the planning application, the target for the pitches to come into use is September 2009.

4.1 Meeting with junior clubs 4 October 2007
? Planning Application determination December 2007
? Finalise lease/management arrangements November 2007
? Commence pitch preparation works January 2008
? Submit funding applications for external grants Dec. 2007/Jan. 2008

5.1 The cost of the initial ground preparation works can be met from this year?s budget allocation of ?50,000. Further funding will be the subject of a budget bid in the 2008/09 budget setting process and also applications for external grant funding (including possibly in partnership with a junior club).

6.1 It is proposed that the Executive Board RESOLVES to agree to the lay-out of the site and to give a view on the future management/usage of the site.

Jeremy Bourne

About the author, admin

  • This is yet another kick in the teeth for the those that brought properties on this development. Priory Chase was not constructed to deal with the additional traffic that we will see when Asda opens at the end of the month, and now to be expected to put up with the extra traffic for this number of football pitches is totally unacceptable. As is the noise pollution that will be generated when these are in use. Is any consideration being given by this council to the residents that will have to put up with all this traffic and noise?

    Has consideration been given to securty? Or will they be left open for use 24/7? Adding further to our misery when gangs of youths are kicking a ball around until gone midnight.

    This part of Rayleigh has plenty of young children, but nowhere for their parents to take them – no slides or swings – The ground behind the leisure centre would be better served for this community by putting something in for the younger members of our community and put the football pitches in another part of Rayleigh, where they are not on the doorstep of peoples homes.


  • Corey, I’m sorry if this has depressed you. The intention to use this land for open space goes back to the very start of the whole scheme – so many hectares allowed for housing, so many for the school, so many for open space , so many for mixed neighbourhood use.

    In fact Sport England only withdrew their objections to the whole development after a senior council officer went to their HQ in St Albans and the use of some land for sports pitches was agreed. (I would have preferred it if the officer had stayed in Rochford and the whole scheme was cancelled…)

    The intention is that the site will be a base for a local club who will manage and hopefully be good neighbours. The traffic won’t help but it will at least only be at weekends and out of the evening peak.
    It is a very badly needed facility.

    However it will require planning permission, and as in the usual way, I won’t make my mind up on the application till it comes to the meeting.

    As for the road, I agree it is inadequate, it was totally stupid of the council to hand out the planning permission for the road before knowing what was going to be built on it. The officers recommended approval and seemed bemused that were even debating it.

    Incidentally , -one Conservative district councillor who voted in favour of the spinal road design much later told a member of the public that he or she voted that way because she didn’t want to see the Lib Dems gain a political advantage from the sports centre being completed later than promised. The councillor concerned didn’t have the ruthlessness to think of that by him or herself so almost certainlymore than one voted that way for that reason. I can’t prove it though.

  • This is another example of the incompetence of RDC Planning Dept hence my earlier note about a vote of no confidence. There must be some way this dept can be called to account, look at some of the recent events.

    ASDA ( Another Supermarket Development Arrives ) starts with the promise of a small express store and we get large supermarket planning to open 24hrs per day.

    The Priory Road / Rawreth Lane junction – need I say more ( and just who is responsible for the whole mess )

    Thinking back to the Reads Nursery site, the flats are totally out of keeping with the area, no effort at all to plan a develpment that looks good, I’m not a fan of flats but if you look at the development opposite Rayleigh station at least they have a bit of character built in.

    I’m sure the list goes on and on…….

  • Hi Chris,

    I appreciate your comments, however, this never came up in our searches when we purchased the property, nor was it mentioned by Wimpeys – since living here it has just been one thing after another.

    In may be that consideration was not given for road width when permission was granted for this development, needless to say it has now been built and RDC must realise that it can not cope with the additional traffic that will be caused by this new facility – you mention that it will only be used off peak and weekends – well isn’t that when the residents here will be at home and therefore most inconvenienced by the additional traffic?

    I agree that the Leisure Centre needs further parking – the current car park is inadequate during peak times hence parking on the roads, but I disagree with the rest of the scheme on the basis that it will have a detrimental effect on the lives of us poor suckers who have purchased properties here.

    Please note that I am writing this on the 7th day of having no sleep thanks to the generator that has been running on the ASDA site since last sunday.

  • Agree with everything you say Steve, but surely it is not just the Planning Department. Am I right in thinking that the Planning Department put forward their approval but it is the Councillors who actually give the green light to the proposals. As I wrote earlier the whole situation is a shocking mess, made by the Councillors who created the situation but assisted by the Planners! They are making our once nice, pleasant town into mish mash of developments squashed into every little corner of the area. The developers will build anywhere they are allowed to and squash as many dwellings as possible into spaces not big enough to cope. Somewhere along the chain we have incompetence on a grand scale (hope you can print this bit Chris, no names included). The Tories need to re-think their whole strategy otherwise the next elections will be a blood bath for them.

  • If the Leisure Centre does need new parking then surely they should fund it as they did in Thundersley?
    Why can the pitches not be put at Bedloes where there is space, the new parking spaces could be put there and the children would be able to use the pitches straight away instead of waiting till 2009!
    I know the agreement with Sport England was for playing field use but one pitch there would suffice with just a few parking spaces. Six years ago this area was a playing field and should have been left as one.

  • Never mind football pitch’s Rayleigh needs a swimming pool, why is Basildon/Wickford having thousands of pounds spent on a new swimming pool and Rayleigh gets nothing, football pitch’s will only serve a small proportion of the community, the money would be better spent on a swimming pool that everyone can use!!!!!

  • Speaking to my neighbours, most have said they wish there was a swimming pool at the Leisure Centre!! I’d have no objection to that, and agree with Dee, Pitches serve a small percentage of the population, a swimming pool is more accessible to all members of our town.

  • I quite agree about the swimming pool. The leisure centre has ample room if it were to give up its lawn bowls area and turn it into a swimming pool. In fact it would be ideal for the thousands of Rayleigh residents that would use it. Although I’m sure the people who use the lawn bowls regularly would not agree I am even more certain that they would be massively out-numbered by the swimming pool users.

    With regards to the football pitches. I have purchased a house overlooking this area. Nothing showed up on our searches and George Wimpy actually told me that the area of land we are all talking about was going to be left as field. Then the day I moved in they kindly informed me it was going to be a football pitch.
    At no point was any kind of plan like these football pitches mentioned and if it as ‘admin’ states that Sport England only approved the whole development scheme on the grounds that the open land would be dedicated to sports fields then I find it shocking this was not made transparent until now!

  • Hi David (I was admin for the comment that you mentioned)

    First of all, I can understand your shock. To be honest the allocation of the land for recreation – and Sport England meant sports pitches – goes back so far that we didn’t really mention it much for a couple of years. But Wimpey should have told you that it was likely.

    As for the pool –

    Going back 10 years or so (long before we started onlinefocus) , the Lib Dems were the largest party on the council. One of our aims was to get a swimming pool for Rayleigh – . it was a big issue for us, for one or two of us maybe THE issue.

    We had over a million pounds in reserves to help pay for it, and the English Sports Council (the predecessor to Sport England) had done a study and concluded that South East Essex was short of TWO swimming pools, so they were willing to provide the extra funding for our one.

    However we ran into two obstacles. One was finding a suitable location – first of all King Georges Field was selected, but someone whipped up a huge outcry saying that we were building on the field (working from memory, I think it would have taken up about a twelth of the field). Then we looked at around by the windmill- but then there was an outcry about a loss of parking (though maybe ten thousand people would have lived within easy walking distance) Councillors fron outside Rayleigh were already unhappy about spending so much money just on Rayleigh, though if it was in the town centre it would at least be easily accessible by public transport for Hockley and Hawkwell.

    Meanwhile my colleague then, Sylvia Lemon, was advocating putting it at the Park School site, although I don’t think enough councillors from outside Rayleigh would have supported it to have a chance to get through.

    The death knell for the pool came from the English Sports Council, who changed their policy to spend more money on elite sport , and suddenly decided we weren’t short of pools in South East Essex after all…..

    The frustration at not getting a pool broke the spirits of some Lib Dems, and probably contributed to why a few didn’t stand for re-election.

    Since then a pool hasn’t been discussed much in the council chamber, although I did ask two or three times whether the council could ask Wimpey if they would like to help contribute towards the cost of extra facilities at the sports centre in order to enhance the value of the houses they have been building. I never heard a response.

    Pools are expensive. Virgin Leisure appraently don’t want to build one, the council can’t afford to build one as the money was spent on smaller projects. The only chance is if more houses are built in SW Rayleigh (as the Tories are suggesting) to get one from the developers as part of the planning permission.

  • Not having sons myself, but talking to friends that have and play for our local Hambro team, I am informed that the teams that will control and “manage” these pitches already have large and adequate facilities on the other side of Rayleigh.

    What a shame that the local side, who I believe now use the recreation ground at Bedloes, could not have this as a flagship base!!

  • David,

    Welcome to the development – it seems that you, like so many of us, have been fed a bunch of lies and half truths in order for Wimpey to make the sale!

    Needless to say, I hope that your experiences thus far do not hinder your enjoyment living here.

  • We have friends that live near to the park at the back of Nelson Road ( the other side of Rayleigh ) – the noise from the footballers on a Sunday has be heard to be believed.

    Still – we can’t have our little cherubs subject to more even more stress by not getting their god given right to play football can we…

  • I live down Trenders Avenue and although I do not have to suffer the noise as I am far enough away, it is the drivers that cause the problems. Am not sure if it is the so called ‘red mist’ that causes them to think ‘unmade road, lets see how high the car can jump if we hit a pothole at speed’ or just inconsiderate driving, but as Steve says – we can’t deny the little cherubs their pleasures. Maybe the children could teach their parents some manners.

    As for the swimming pool I agree that this would be a better option as it would serve more people in the Rayleigh District and beyond.

  • Dear “Canterbury Close Resident”
    yes, there are quite a few pitches in Rayleigh but there are huge drainage problems and also there are not enough pitches per capita of the population, due in part to the land at the former Park Schoo being allowed to deteriorate.

  • Steve,

    you seem annoyed at the noise being made by footballers as if it were some kind of anti-social behaviour. Surely you see the benefit of children engaging in physical exercise? Are they supposed to play football quietly? I resent the sarcasm in your tone “our little cherubs” etc. I would rather have my children playing football outside and keeping fit than sitting indoors glued to the TV and Playstation.

    There has to be a certain amount of open space and Rayleigh falls short of this at present. I agree that it would also be beneficial to have a public swimming pool but I somehow doubt that this will now happen, that’s why I am grateful to the lady who opened “Swimming Tales” on Lubbards Farm.

  • I agree that the children need open space to play football especially with the obesity in children getting worse, but how many people in Rayleigh are going to use this?

    (Many of the residents in Rayleigh are elderly, or have young families)

    If this was too accommodate local people from Rayleigh there wouldn’t be such an issue with the roads and noise as people could walk or get the bus(if there was a good enough service), but this is going to be used by lots of people outside the Rayleigh area causing more road chaos.

    I think that it is more likely to be used by Older Children and Adults.

    How many young children can afford to pay!

    Whilst ‘Swimming Tales’ on Lubbards Farm is a good idea, this is a privately run enterprise and you can only use this at certain times, it is too small to accommodate the people of Rayleigh.

    There was enough land and room opposite the cemetery to build a swimming pool and football pitches but instead we got even more housing.

    When will someone in the council start listening to what people actually want, and more importantly we need someone to stand up to the council and make them take notice!!!

  • Dee,
    I agree about the swimming pool; it is such a shame that we don’t have a public one in Rayleigh given the size of the population.
    Concerning the football pitches, I believe that there are ongoing discussions involving local Rayleigh clubs.

  • Alison,

    As you seem keen on living in an area with football pitches close by, perhaps you would want to buy my house??

    Or is the prospect of living opposite the largest supermarket in Rayleigh, a busy Leisure Centre and 5 football pitches a little too daunting?

    Considering I was only expecting one of the above 3 facilities when I purchased this property, I find the idea of living here any longer impossible – especially when the value of my property has deteriorated by 10%, and God only knows how many more thousands of pounds I am expected to loose before the this sorry mess of a development is finally finished.

    Noise pollution is at the end of the day Anti-Social, and five football pitches will generate noise. If you don’t fancy buying my house, perhaps the pitches could be placed close to your house?

  • Corey,

    I really am sorry that you are in this position. I think that the Asda development is despicable, especially as residents appear to have been misled by the developer if I am understanding the situation correctly.

    Concerning the football pitches, it would appear that people such as yourself, who purchased property without being told of the use that this land would be put to, have been misled in this respect as well. As far as I am aware (I am not a councillor) it has always been the intention that the land would be turned back into playing fields- perhaps if the land hadn’t been allowed to deteriorate into the condition it has, then its intended use would have been more evident.

    I have every sympathy with your situation; you have been misled by the developers both in terms of the Asda monstrosity and with the playing fields and in your position I would be very angry too.

  • Well someone must be accountable for the situation these people find themselves in. Both the developers and ASDA have acted without any thought for the residents, however over and above that I would put the blame on the District council and the planning department. The planning department must have given the go ahead for the Coppice gate development. So, after that what does the planning department do? I can’t see that they actually monitored how things were chugging along othewise these problems would have been picked up much earlier.

    Can someone please explain to me, do we have a Planning and Transportation department that is supposed to do more than they are doing or are they doing enough and what happens to the rights of residents such as these people if things go horribly wrong. All I see at the moment is people saying ‘NOT MY PROBLEM’ well I think its the COUNCILS problem. Is there anyone from the district council who wants to argue the point PLEASE.

  • Dear Mr Bourne

    As a local footaball club consisting of 10 junior and mini soccer teams we would like to apply for use of the football pitches at this new development.

    Elmwood Colts has been established in Rayleigh for over 20 years and has gained a reputation for its standard of football.

    If possible we would need solus use of the facility, certainly in the future to accomodate our proposed growth.

    Over the past few years we have been gradually building the club from grass roots level and have added 3 new mini soccer temas (U’7, U’8 and U’9) to go with the 2 x U10 and 4 teams at junior football level.

    We have made great strides over the past two years and it is our intention to continue the growth by holding yet more training days throughout the new year to add additional teams to our fold.

    In addition we intend to become a senior club within 3-5 years and the facilities this ground offers, gives us the opportunity to achieve that goal sooner rather than later.

    I will write to you immediately with a formal request but would like to be included for this ground to be our base for the future growth of our club.


    Leigh Wilby
    Club Secretary
    07901 518999
    01702 335065

  • Corey , re the generator , after I saw your comment I contacted environmental health and I know the generator has gone now. Seems the contractors were using a generator without the normal acoustic shielding, which is disgraceful . Have you been in contact with environmental health yourself?

  • Dee

    When will someone in the council start listening to what people actually want, and more importantly we need someone to stand up to the council and make them take notice!!!

    As it happens Jackie and Chris raised the question of a pool at the West Area Committee last night – we’ll post something about this later.

    The council starting listening more when Jackie won in May. The ‘powers that be’ were shocked by that .

    We just need more candidates for next year. Have you thought about standing yourself? If you haven’t the time to be a district candidate/councillor , stand for the town council. And if you don’t think you are a Lib Dem, stand for the Town Council as an independent.

  • The fiasco with the Generator is thus, and this is a good one!

    Sunday 7th October – called Mr Goodison (MrG) RG Site Manager – asked him if the generator could be turned off to enable us to get some sleep – told us that the generator would be run for upto 2 weeks to enable them to be able to see if refrigeration etc was working, no leaks etc. Advised us that Accoustic Sheath was on order and would be fitted on Tuesday.

    Monday 8th – Called to advise MrG that we had a sleepless night and wanted confirmation that Sheath would befitted on Tuesday which was confirmed, when asked what would happen if it wasn’t delivered, told that that shouldn’t happen, but would sort it out if that happened.

    Tuesday 9th – MrG came to the door to advise that the sheath had not been delivered, and that they were going to build a temporary shelter. Told it would be here by Friday!!! Not sure if temporary shelter was built, it certainly did not block out any sound.

    Friday 12th – Text message to inform us that Sheath was still in Scotland, but EDF energy were given extra money to get Asda connected to mains and that the generator would be turned off over the weekend.

    Saturday 13th – two EDF vans arrived – did some work, but generator remained on.

    Sunday 14th – no sign of EDF and generator still on.

    Monday 15th – Generator turned off at some point during the day.

    What did this mean to us – 8 nights of interrupted sleep. To give you some idea of what it was like. Imagine sitting on an aeroplane on seats near the wing – you have the constant noise from the engines – that’s what we had.

    As far as we are concerned, RG Group consistently lied to us – we do not believe for one second that this sheath was ordered in the first place. Nor do we believe that EDF were paid additional money to get the job done. There is no way on this planet that RG group are considerate constructors.

    As for speaking to Environmental health – we finally got to speak to someone today – as the generator is now switched off, they didn’t feel that there was anything that they can do.

    What has really got my goat over this matter, is that we have yet to receive any form of an apology for the inconvenience!

  • Corey, Don’t hold your breath for an apology. These are given out very infrequently. It seems to be an admission of guilt and of course no one wants to take the blame!

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