Work begins on new 3G all-weather pitch in Battersea

Published: 2 November 2018

Work is now underway to provide a new £2.1m all-weather pitch in Battersea’s Falcon Park which will boost sports participation and improve leisure facilities for the area’s young people.

The new 3G artificial grass pitch will replace four existing junior size grass pitches which are regularly deemed unplayable in the winter months because of waterlogging.

Replacing them with an all weather playing surface with floodlights means young footballers and other sports clubs will be able to use them for around 80 hours a week - compared to the ten hour limit recommended for grass pitches by the Football Association.

The new pitch is being sited in the south west corner of Falcon Park. It will be used mainly for football but will also support other sports like rugby and cricket.

It will leave three quarters of the park almost completely untouched, apart from a series of landscape and environmental improvements at the northern end. The scheme has been designed to have the least impact on this important green open space which is regularly used by dog walkers and for other leisure and recreational purposes.

As part of the scheme a modern new changing pavilion is also being built to replace the obsolete and vacant existing one.

The need to provide good quality sports pitches in this part of Battersea has been identified in the council’s Playing Pitch Strategy and there have also been requests for better facilities from local sports clubs, including BedHead Junior Football Club, one of the most popular and best attended in the area.

BedHead FC and its charitable arm, The Guy Mascolo Football Charity, run many football coaching programmes in the local community and manage more than 25 youth teams. The club also offers free drop-in sessions and works closely with local schools and with the council’s youth service to deliver a Positive Lifestyles programme to young people in the area aged 14 to 16. The club also runs a girls’ development coaching centre and its women’s team has been competing since 2013.

Due to high demand from children and young people to play in their competitive teams, they also run a player development league where anyone can come along and be part of a team on a Saturday. BedHead FC is an FA Charter Standard Development and Community Club that has recently won county and regional awards.

Improving access to sports in this part of the borough is also a key public health priority for the council. 

Wandsworth’s environment spokesman Cllr Steffi Sutters said: “The start of work on this long-awaited and much-needed leisure improvement scheme is good news for everyone in this part of Battersea who wants to play football and other sports and stay fit and healthy. 

“It is a particularly welcome for young people. If we want children and teenagers in the area to be active and engage in healthy sporting activities then we need to improve local sports facilities.

“Falcon Park’s existing pitches are no longer fit for purpose which is why the we are providing an all-weather playing surface which will be available for a wide variety of sports and leisure uses.

“When we asked local people if they supported the plans a clear majority were in favour. One of the conclusions of the public consultation was the need to make sure that Falcon Park remained open and welcoming to other local groups, especially dog walkers which is why we have sited the new pitch in the south west corner of the park so that dog owners and other visitors can continue to enjoy a large uninterrupted green space.”

The £2.1m cost of the scheme has been secured from The Football Foundation, which has provided £480,000 and The London Marathon Charitable Trust which has approved a £150,000 grant. The remaining £1.4m is coming from council budgets.

The council is also planning to build a brand new state-of-the-art leisure centre in this part of Battersea as part of its regeneration proposals for the York Road and Winstanley estates.