FAW makes bid to hold competitive matches at Colliers Park in Wrexham
Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
The Football Association of Wales (FAW) has made a bid to hold competitive matches at a training facility in Wrexham.
The National Football Development Centre was opened at Colliers Park in Gresford in July 2019 following an investment worth around £5.5m.
It came after work was carried out to redevelop the former training base of Wrexham AFC to provide two FIFA-standard grass pitches, a 3G pitch and changing rooms.
When permission for the scheme was given in May 2018, a planning condition was attached which prevents competitive matches from being played at the centre.
The FAW is now seeking to have the restriction lifted to aid the development of players using the facility, which also has learning suites, a dedicated player zone, video analysis rooms and a medical suite.
In documents put forward to Wrexham Council, it said: “Since opening, Colliers Park has become the centre of the footballing landscape, not only in Wrexham and north Wales but also across Wales.
“Colliers Park is one of the most sought-after football facilities across the country, providing state of the art pitches and servicing a wide range of users across grassroots, community, elite, and workforce.
“Women and girls football in particular has thrived at Colliers Park, and we are proud to home the north Wales girls regional programme, Welsh national teams, and Wrexham AFC women and girls teams.
“Football is a game and, whilst our planning condition does not permit competitive matches, games and matches are a huge part of learning and development for those playing the sport.
“It is essential for football in Wrexham that condition five is removed that we can host competitive fixtures, within our site capacity, and managed so there isn’t an impact on our neighbours who have been extremely supportive.”
Another condition imposed by the local authority limits the number of people using the facility at any one time to 200.
Although the FAW said it was not seeking to change that requirement, it highlighted that visitor numbers could come close to that figure during larger events.
The council’s chief environment officer has asked the association to consider funding changes to road markings near the centre to prevent vehicles from overtaking.
It follows concerns being raised about the possibility of increased traffic and a lack of visibility at the entrance to the site.
In a memo sent in response to the proposals, Darren Williams said: “Given the restricted visibility in the northerly direction, it may be considered beneficial to restrict overtaking for traffic heading south bound.
“However, this would require a modification to the existing road markings i.e. central hatching to have solid white line both sides to prevent overtaking along this section of Chester Road.
“If such measures were supported, the applicant would need to fund a traffic regulation order to implement this modification.
“If it is viewed that the relaxation of condition five will result in the proposed use of the site being more intensive throughout the day than the current usage of the site, it will still need to comply with condition four of the previous permission which restricts it to no more than 200 people on site at any one time.”
A decision will be made on the plans by the council at a later date.
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