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Alsager Campus Update

31 January 2014 by Becki Burndred


Alsager Sports & Recreation Association (ASRA) has this week outlined its vision for the development of a new sports hub as part of the redevelopment of the MMU’s Alsager Campus.
ASRA represents a wide range of sports and community groups in Alsager and has been working with the MMU to create a vision for the development of a sports hub as part of the wider development of the site. The plan has widespread support from a range of governing bodies including England Hockey and the FA as well as backing from Alsager Town Council, Alsager School and MP Fiona Bruce.

Stephen Wade, spokesperson for ASRA commented;

“The sports and community groups in Alsager have been in a dialogue with MMU’s Planning Advisors, Messrs DTZ in Manchester. Our vision has yet to be agreed by the MMU but we believe it to be the best possible solution for both parties. MMU would have sufficient land to develop approximately 350 houses in accordance with latest Planning Policy guidelines. The housing development would release significant capital for the MMU, part of which would be used to fund a sporting legacy for the town. The sports hub would be focussed in the southeast corner of the site fronting Dunnocksfold Road and Hassall Road. This would allow ease of access for pupils from Alsager School opposite and would retain the open vista on Dunnocksfold Road.
The plan would involve the creation of 2 new all weather pitches, a 2G multi-use pitch suitable for hockey and a 4G pitch for football. The plan retains 2 full size grass pitches and 3 half-size grass pitches. The scheme would also incorporate an all weather cricket wicket which could be used in the summer months outside the football season. The plan retains the existing indoor drama studio, sports hall and gym which were built in the first instance using tax payer’s funds. The retention of the indoor facilities is extremely important to the Community. Our consultation to date with the U3A, Drama & Fitness Groups and Sports Clubs has indicated that there is a desperate need for additional quality indoor facilities.
A key element of the project is also investment in the existing facilities at Alsager School. ASRA’s plan assumes that the MMU will fund the resurfacing of the existing astro turf pitch which is in need of replacement. The plan would also resurface 4 tennis courts at Alsager School in compensation for the loss of 8 tennis courts on the MMU site that pupils previously used in the sports lessons.”

The scheme also has the backing of Alsager School. The Headteacher Richard Middlebrook noted;
“Alsager School believes the plans are really exciting and we fully support ASRA’s proposals for the development of the MMU Campus. A sports hub will enable us to expand our sporting curriculum and will allow us to offer high quality sports facilities to our students. More importantly, the scheme is right for Alsager. It provides all sections of the Community with access to sports and recreation facilities regardless of age. It is very much hoped that Cheshire East and Sport England will be able to share the vision created by ASRA.”

The scheme also has support Fiona Bruce MP and Sport England both of whom have contributed towards the development of the ASRA sports hub plan. As well as the Football Association, England Hockey is also keen to see the project come to fruition and Julie Longden of England Hockey commented;
“England Hockey (EH) fully supports the sports hub concept at the MMU. Triton Hockey Club is one of the fastest growing clubs in the North West, with a strong focus on junior and community development. The hockey club proactively works with England Hockey on a number of key programmes, including developing strong club-school links and our Back to Hockey initiative, aimed at encouraging women back into our sport. The sports hub will ensure that Triton Hockey Club can continue to grow and it will provide the local communities in South Cheshire with great sporting facilities.”
There is still however some way to go to bring the vision to reality. Stephen Wade added;
“The MMU are actively marketing the site with a view to finding a development partner to drive forward the planning process. We need to engage with the selected developer and the MMU to ensure the vision becomes reality. ASRA strongly believes that this is the right solution for Alsager and will engage at the highest level to ensure the successful delivery of the project.
We are encouraged by recent comments made by Cheshire East Councillor Mike Jones who gave a commitment at a recent Town Council Meeting to retain indoor sports facilities as part of the wider sports hub development.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we must ensure that the plan is delivered so as to protect the health and well being of the future residents of Alsager.

ASRA is grateful to Alsager Town Council who has given steadfast support to the sports hub concept and is confident that with its help the continued support of the widespread Community, this plan will ultimately come to fruition.”

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