Mayor opens Barlows Park Community Football Complex
20 Oct 2007
Horace Mitchell Andy Shoulder Warwick Lovegrove Jim Anscombe
Horace Mitchell Andy Shoulder Warwick Lovegrove Jim Anscombe
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The Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane opened the new football pitches at Silchester Rd, Tadley, on land donated by the Stacey family.

"Jim Anscombe, who runs the Barlow’s Park Environmental Trust, came to see me about this ten years ago in the House of Commons, and neither of us realised it would take so long to build the Pavilion and the pitches. Now we have them, and it is a tremendous resource for the town - the first quality pitches they have ever had. 25 teams are based here, some of them at the top of their leagues."

Below are extract from the speeches made.

Jim Anscombe (BPET and Partnership)

On behalf of the Tadley and District Recreation Scheme Partnership I welcome you here today to celebrate the official opening of Barlow’s Park Community football complex.

This facility has been a long time coming to fruition particularly for the Barlow’s Park Environmental Trust who started the process back in 1998 and obtained the original vital planning consent to develop the whole of the land for sport and recreational purposes. At that stage we were grateful for the practical support of Sir George Young and his belief in our efforts.

The formation of the Partnership with the Town and Borough Councils finally led to the facility that you see today.

It involved many years of investigation, consultation, planning and fund raising, requiring determination, pragmatism, patience and diplomacy, and
I am also pleased to report that once the contract was awarded good project management ensured delivery of the scheme on time, within budget.

This has given Tadley for the first time a high quality facility to support community football.

I hope you have had a chance to have a look around the site, and that you will stay to enjoy the refreshments and activities during the afternoon.

I am now pleased to hand over to Cllr Horace Mitchell, Cabinet Member at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, to say a few words.

Cllr Horace Mitchell (Cabinet Member BDBC)

I am pleased to be here today and to see so many people who have been instrumental in making this project happen. It is the culmination of hard work by many people over the years and it is not possible to name them all – however I must mention the generosity of the Stacey family in donating the land, and particularly David Stacey who had the foresight to see how it could be developed for community use.

There are many individuals who have contributed to this project but we would not be standing here today if it had not been due to partnership working. Barlow’s Plantation Environmental Trust, Tadley Town Council and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council forged an alliance to deliver this scheme and persevered when the going got tough. And it did get tough! The very fact that you are now not in Hampshire but West Berkshire was, and still remains, one of the challenges, particularly with regard to planning and funding issues!

Talking of funding, the Partnership and the people of Tadley are most grateful for the support given by the Football Foundation. A generous grant of £800,000 was significant in transforming plans on paper into a reality. Barlow’s Park is now a community football complex and is the home of Tadley Calleva Community Football Club. The facilities will support junior and youth grassroots football development activity and accommodate fixtures and holiday programmes for all ages, girls and boys. These are the adult players of the future and the investment in their development on this site will hopefully enable Tadley to have success at all levels.

We must not forget the other contributors to the scheme – funding was also provided by the two Councils and by Entrust through the Landfill Tax scheme. This funding, together with the Football Foundation grant, has resulted in a total investment of £1.5 million.

Some elements of the facility around the senior pitch were not part of the construction contract but have been provided through the efforts of volunteers from Tadley Calleva Football Club. The installation of floodlights is their next milestone and shows the pride that the club has in this site. Representatives from the club, together with other local people, have also formed the Barlow’s Park Management Association, to take on the running of the facilities.

I’ll now hand over to the Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, Cllr Warwick Lovegrove to perform the official opening.

The Mayor, Cllr Warwick Lovegrove

I am delighted to be here today to formally open these new facilities for the people of Tadley. Being a Tadley Councillor I have been following this project for many years and am thrilled that I have the honour of opening it during my year as Mayor.

I endorse Cllr Mitchell’s words and thank all those who have been responsible for making this happen.

I would now like to hand this plaque to the Chairman of the Barlow’s Park Management Association, Andy Shoulder. Andy has the role of leading the Association in the management of the facilities, making sure it is cared for so that the community can use it for many years to come.

Response by Andy Shoulder (Chairman BPMA)

I am delighted to receive this plaque on behalf of the Barlow’s Park Management Association. The Association is made up of volunteers from the community, many of whom have a direct interest in football and who have been following this project with interest and anticipation and we thank everyone who has made this possible.

For those of us involved with Tadley Calleva Football Club these facilities represent a huge step forward in the provision of pitches to meet the growing number of children involved in the game and in providing a high quality senior pitch which has already been recognised as one of the best in the Wessex League. The installation of floodlights in due course will only improve this further.

The members of the Management Association are committed to working with our funding partners to make sure this facility is managed for the benefit of the Tadley community.

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