Could Russell Foster Youth League have new base? Land eyed for new football pitches

A new football centre for young players from across Wearside is being planned by a league which brings together hundreds of teams.

Thursday, 24th January 2019, 5:00 am
Down at the Farm at Stony Gate, off the A690 at Houghton.

The Russell Foster Foundation has said it plans to build a base next to Down at the Farm at Haining Law Farm off the A690 at Stony Gate.

The suggestion is laid out in a request for a screening opinion sent to Sunderland City Council, as it looks for advice about whether an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is needed as part of a planning application.

Plans are expected to go in applying for football pitches to be built next to Down at the Farm and on part of Haining Law Farm.

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The document states it is seeking confirmation one is not needed ahead of a forthcoming planning application.

The papers say the proposals are likely to feature six pitches, including one which could then be divided into two playing areas, with to be surfaced with grass and three with a 3G surface.

They would be of a variety of sizes to cater for games from five-a-side to 11-a-side and would also be opened up to use by others.

It is also likely to include lighting and fencing around the playing area, the demolition of agricultural buildings, create a loop for traffic with a new exit and on site parking places.

The EIA paper states a planning application is expected to ask for permission to demolish agricultural buildings, the erection of a sports pavilion, engineering works to re-grade the site ready for pitches, fencing and floodlighting around the playing areas, as well as the new exit, parking and toilets.

It says: “The football pitches would be used primarily for training and matches pertaining the Russell Foster Youth League,

“However, it is expected that the artificial pitches would also be made available to general members of the public.

“This arrangement will help finance the upkeep of the grass pitches for the benefit of the children.”

It would run alongside the farm and petting zoo, but be spread out across the land.

It adds: “These operations would function alongside each other, sharing some facilities such as the proposed car park and the vehicle entry and exit points.

“However, given the positional spread of these activities, they are on the whole segregated from each other and their uses would therefore not conflict.

“Furthermore, in general terms it is envisaged that the northern section of the new car park would also act as an overflow parking area for Down at the Farm visitors, while the southern half of the car park would cater for users of the football facilities.”

The Echo was told by the league it was unable to comment on the project at this time.

It already runs a £1.8 million football centre in Staddon Way, Newbottle, which was given permission to expand its pitches and hours last May, despite more than 100 objections and a petition of 660-plus names.

Concerns included issues over parking, noise, litter, antisocial behaviour, the impact on wildlife and a lack of consultation with residents.