FA Take Advice From City Groundsmen: Sports bodies across the UK are taking advice from Gloucester.
More than 18 months after the city council agreed to commit to improve pitches across Gloucester, council bosses say there has been a major improvement.
The RFU, FA, and England and Wales Cricket Board have held pitch improvement workshops with clubs and groundsmen here in Gloucester, including an event at Kingsholm Stadium, which was led by the head groundsman of Twickenham stadium, Keith Kent.
In January 2016, the council agreed to undertake a new playing pitch strategy to turn their pitches around.
Since then they claim they have seen a 40 per cent improvement.
The report added that with commitment from city council officers, and representation with sporting interest groups such as Sport England, Active Gloucestershire and Aspire Sport and Cultural Trust, now the Football Association is developing a national case study based on Gloucester’s approach.
Gloucester City Council’s cabinet recently approved a report which stated that more people in the county are getting involved in playing sport.
Councillor Lise Noakes (C, Barnwood) said: “It’s exciting the progress that we’re making.”
Adam Gooch, principal planning officer at Gloucester City Council, said in a report: “The delivery of the playing pitch strategy is having a positive effect on sustainability in Gloucester, providing a framework for the protection, enhancement and provision on playing pitches and ancillary facilities in the city over the next 10 years.
“It will also set a good foundation for the ongoing consideration of playing pitches through future updates to the strategies.”
Terry Haines is a member of the Gloucestershire Playing Fields Association.
He said: “My impression is that things have improved but there’s a challenge to maintain them when the [council’s] resources have been reduced to almost nothing.”
He added the future of the pitches depends on “people doing something” to make sure the pitches are suitable for playing on.
But Martin Townsend, who is director of rugby for Old Centralians RFC at Saintbridge Road – which is maintained by White Horse Federation on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council – said his pitch needs improvement.
He said the pitch gets flooded when it rains, and if the team is playing when that happens, the pitch is out of use for four weeks.
“The standard of the pitch is terrible. When the school got moved here the White Horse Federation were supposed to have provided us with a decent playing facility,” he said.
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