New Sunderland football pitch plans to be voted on

Wearside League football between Sunderland West End (red/white) and Anfield Plain, played at Ford Quarry, Sunderland.
Wearside League football between Sunderland West End (red/white) and Anfield Plain, played at Ford Quarry, Sunderland.

The latest stage of a multi-million pound FA scheme to create new all-weather football pitches on Wearside could be given the go-ahead next week.

Plans for three artificial grass pitches and the refurbishment of the current clubhouse at Ford Quarry Recreation Area, in Keelmans Lane, Sunderland, will be decided on Wednesday (April 18).

Sunderland City Council’s (SCC) Planning and Highways Committee will consider the scheme, which also includes building an extra 174 parking spaces, taking the total to 255.

SCC submitted plans in December as part of the Football Association’s Parklife project, which aims to improve grass roots access to pitches and programmes.

The Community North Sports Complex, in Kingsway, Downhill, and the Northern Area Playing Fields, in Stephenson Road, Washington, are also due have their facilities upgraded under the FA’s scheme.

Sunderland West End Football Club, Ryhope CW Football Club, Humbledon and Plains Farm Football Club and Sunderland City Juniors Football Club are among the sides expected to benefit if the committee approves the plans.

A report by council officers has recommended the panel vote in favour as it will ‘clearly provide benefits in terms of supporting increased participation in sports in the City’.

But not everyone is sold on the plans.

Commenting on the application online, Leanne Evans, of St Luke’s Road, Sunderland, said: “Ford quarry has a protected geological status and should be protected.

“The site is also home to a lot of wildlife including protected bats.

“The woodland was destroyed to instal football pitches and only 5 per cent of the trees remain.

“The area is a nuisance and the noise from the pitches disrupting.”

The reference number for the application is REF:17/02426

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service