Work is poised to begin on a new multi-million-pound sports facility in Wallsend.
Thanks to a £1.9m grant from the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation, St Peter's Playing Fields, Wallsend, will soon become home to a new sports facility complete with a pavilion, changing rooms, a multi-use community space and a new floodlit 3G football pitch across a 6.8-hectare site.
The £4m North Tyneside Council project is being hailed as a first-class venue for football and rugby and will be operated by Northumberland FA, who will use it as their new HQ.
The project includes a new recreational area around the perimeter of the site which is suitable for dog walking while new fencing and car parking are included.
The project is being made possible by a £1.9 million grant from the Football Foundation. £375,000 from the Football Association and £50,000 was secured from the Rugby Football League as part of the Createdby RLWC2021 programme, as well as housing developer contributions to North Tyneside Council.
Once complete the new facilities will be operated by Northumberland FA who will use the facilities as their new HQ. Wallsend Rugby Club will use the building as their new clubhouse. The venue will be a community development hub for football and a training venue for Wallsend Centurions and Eagles Rugby league clubs.
Councillor Sandra Graham, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “The existing pavilion which is used by local football and rugby teams is in a very poor condition and is no longer fit for purpose, as are the grass football pitches which have limited capacity.
“The site is identified as an investment priority by the Football Foundation and within the council’s own playing pitch strategy. Our officers have worked closely with partners to develop the project over several years, including the Football Association (FA), Northumberland Football Association (NFA) and Football Foundation who all share the same goal of developing a regional sports facility which will greatly benefit football and rugby and those accessing these sports within the Borough and further afield.”
Andrew Rose-Cook, Chief Executive of Northumberland FA said: “The new development will transform grassroots sports in the area, providing state of the art facilities for local clubs and players.
“We are committed to ensuring football is a game for everyone and we already deliver a range of projects to make it more inclusive, particularly for those who may have traditionally not participated. The new facility will help us to take this work to another level, and we are looking forward to developing a new generation of players, coaches and volunteers. None of this would be possible without the incredible financial support of North Tyneside Council, The Football Association, The Football Foundation, and the Rugby Football League all of whom should take pride in a bringing together this project to create a legacy for the local area.”
Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “It is great news for Wallsend that North Tyneside Council and Northumberland County Football Association are set to start work at their St Peter’s Playing Fields facility.
“This is the latest example of investment from our partners, the Premier League, The FA and Government through Sport England, improving grassroots facilities across the country. This funding is enabling more people to enjoy the benefits of playing regular sport.”
Marc Lovering, Director of Participation and Development at RFL, said: “We are delighted to support North Tyneside Council on this new development and it’s really encouraging to know that construction will begin in April.
“The North East has a rich Rugby League history and Super League’s showcase event – Magic Weekend – is set to return to St James’ Park in June. This year looks to be the best yet and we would really encourage local residents to come along and get involved.
“We are really looking forward to supporting the Wallsend Centurions and Eagles at the new training complex, and we wish them all the success for the future.”
Work is set to start on site with the appointed contractors in April 2023 and complete in early 2024.