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Cheddar Football Club could move premises

By This is Somerset  |  Posted: May 28, 2009

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A Cheddar Valley football club might re-locate in search of bigger, better premises and sell its current base for housing.

The Cheddar Valley Gazette can exclusively reveal that club leaders are thinking of moving Cheddar Football Club from Bowdens Park on Draycott Road to a new site so that it can expand.

The plan is very much in its infancy and consultants have been brought in to see if the idea is worth pursuing.

No new site has been suggested yet, but it would have to be suitable to site senior, junior teams and an artificial grass pitch, along with a clubhouse kitted out with function and meeting rooms. There would also be changing rooms for schools, sports clubs, organisations and groups.

At present Cheddar FC, founded in 1892 and nicknamed The Cheesemen, has only one pitch available for first and reserve adult teams to use.

A feasibility study is being carried out and will consult with the community to try and find a possible new home.

If the project looks promising, a detailed proposal would be drawn up before a planning application is submitted. Funding would then be sought before building begins and the new community football club opens.

Community football clubs consist of at least 10 teams who use the site for training, playing and social events.

To meet the Football Association's criteria, they must offer opportunities for players regardless of age, gender, religion and ability.

Clubs must also have qualified coaches, first aiders and child protection officers.

The club currently has more than 40 players signed up and caters to four teams, one under-18s team and has had a good start and end to its recent season in the Somerset County League's premiership division.

The research is being carried out by Swindon-based Sports Solutions GB, who has done similar projects in Burnham, Buckinghamshire; Cirencester, Gloucestershire; Thame, Oxfordshire and Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire.

Clubs in these locations have released the monetary potential of their central sites by selling all or part of it to housing developers and using the profit to relocate to bigger grounds on the edge of their towns or to buy new stands and clubhouses

The company's managing director, Chris Bevan, said: "We are delighted to have been appointed to work with Cheddar FC to investigate the opportunity to develop important community sports facilities.

"Our team's specialist experience in feasibility studies leading to the delivery of high quality, viable sports facilities will help to ensure that potential outcomes for the proposed scheme are fully investigated and appropriate recommendations made that will benefit the wider community."

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