Community sports chief supporting plans for new residential development in Ponteland

June 12, 2012 | Property News

One of Ponteland’s leading community sport administrators has backed plans for a new, high-quality family housing development which could significantly enhance the town’s sporting facilities.

Alan Birkinshaw, joint chairman of Ponteland United Football Club and one of the main drivers behind the long-standing Ponteland Sporting Club Project, has voiced his support for the proposed Clickemin scheme, which is being put forward by north east-based Banks Property for a site on the south east side of the town.

As part of the development, a range of community and environmental improvements would be introduced in the area, with the initial plans being considered including a proposal for a major upgrade of sports and leisure facilities.

Research carried out across comparable towns around the UK found that Ponteland has fewer high quality sports facilities than its peers, a situation that Alan Birkinshaw is keen to see addressed.

But as well as highlighting the direct results that the town’s various sporting clubs and their members would gain from seeing long-needed new facilities built, Alan is also keen to point out the benefits that this would bring to the wider Ponteland community and how these new facilities could be utilised by people from every part of the town.

He says: “Our sporting community been working together for many years through the Ponteland Sporting Club Project to secure the improvements to our playing and practice facilities that we know are desperately required, but we’ve never been able to find a way to achieve this, and have had to look on as other areas have received funding for the sorts of facilities that we really need as well.

“As well as needing more pitches to manage the demand that our successful and popular community clubs have created over the years, we also need to improve the playing areas that we already have – poor drainage and surface conditions on our practice pitches means that we often have to use the main playing area instead, and they suffer from substantial ‘wear and tear’ as a result, which is damage that could be avoided.

“There’s also the substantial cost of having to hire facilities elsewhere, which we’ve had to do on a regular basis, and the additional time and cost burdens this places on parents who need to take their children out of the area to use them – whilst people in Ponteland remain very keen to play for their home clubs, there is a danger that they might be attracted to go elsewhere if the facilities are better and they’re already having to travel to attend training anyway.

“The installation of an artificial pitch that’s being talked about as part of the Clickemin residential development would solve this problem at a stroke, but it would do so much more than that.

“There’s a real latent demand in the town for somewhere like this that could be accessed by the local schools and community groups, and I’m certain that it would be well used every day of the week for a wide variety of purposes.

“We want to provide the best facilities we can for our young people, and to give them the best possible chance to be as good as they can be at their chosen sports, and my feeling is, that as well as providing the new homes that our town clearly needs, the Clickemin scheme offers the best way in which we can not only achieve this goal, but also enhance the facilities available to the whole community.”

Banks has begun carrying out initial discussions with local community leaders and representatives about the Clickemin scheme, which would be located on what is presently agricultural land on either side of the A696 Ponteland Road.

Detailed proposals are currently in development and some distance away, but Banks will be holding a public exhibition in the summer at which it will be discussing the outline principles of the scheme with local people and listening to their views.

The scheme, which would be created in accordance with the principles of sustainable development, is designed to help address Ponteland’s acknowledged need for new housing, which will in turn support the town’s long-term well-being by attracting and retaining young people and families.

Michael Shuttleworth, managing director of Banks Property, adds: “Sharing the benefits of the schemes that we develop around the country with the communities in which they are situated is part of Banks’ long-term policy for ensuring that people living in these areas gain tangible, long-term advantages from our work.

“The investment that we would be able to make in Ponteland’s amenities and infrastructure through the Clickemin scheme would make a positive difference to local people for decades to come, and would address a clear local need for better sporting and leisure facilities.

“We’re keen to hear as many different ideas as we can about the ways in which the Clickemin scheme could be the catalyst for improvements to the area, and are already working closely with people across Ponteland to ensure we get the widest possible view of what their priorities are.”

For further information on the Clickemin development, please contact the Banks Community Team on 0191 378 6100 or via clickemin@banksgroup.co.uk

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