I am delighted to have played my part in today's announcement by the Cheshire Football Association that their new world-class football facility is to be built in Winsford.
Since learning about the project, I have worked hard to ensure that this facility came to Winsford, which has a long and proud history of grassroots football, persuading Cheshire Football Association to move away from the proposed site in Northwich which was favoured by Cheshire West and Cheshire Council.
The new hub will feature high quality professional standard grass and 3G pitches, stadia with up to 3,000 seat capacity as well as community facilities, including five community grass pitches and the UK’s first permanent outdoor adventure activity centre. It will also feature a 150-bed luxury hotel, spa and gym development.
In addition to providing a training base and facilities for international and professional teams, the centre will become a specialist centre for women and girls’ football, providing a pathway for female players from the age of 5 to professional level. It will also offer a world-class educational setting, including a Pupil Referral Unit in collaboration with Cheshire West and Chester Council and Everton in the Community and a Sixth Form Centre which will enjoy strong links to the hub’s hotel and football operations.
Nationally, the centre will play a vital role in the future development of women’s football in the United Kingdom, improving opportunities for all those involved in the game at every level. Locally, the facility has the potential to deliver huge benefits to the community and will be a real driver for change in the local economy with jobs and skills in areas like sports sciences and hospitality.
In speaking about the project, Stuart Manifould, Project Director at Cheshire FA commented:
“From the first moment Antoinette became aware of our proposals, she was pushing for the project to be located in Winsford and was very persuasive in her arguments as to why is should be located there. We are grateful for her support during the last eighteen months and the way in which she has promoted the project with Ministers.”