Backing for football club's plans to boost facilities at Tens Field
A FOOTBALL club’s plans to develop its ground facilities have been given support in principle by town councillors.
Bowes FC leases the Tens Field ground from Barnard Castle Town Council, which in turn looks after the field on behalf of the charity Fields in Trust.
Since moving to Tens Field from its previous home at Shaw Bank three seasons ago, the football club has carried out a number of improvements to the ground, improving the surface, drainage, putting in new boundary fencing and cutting back overgrown hedges.
Club officials have also carried out some work to the changing facilities, such as putting cladding on the wooden structure, and now want to carry out further improvements.
Members of the town council's services committee were told the club wanted to extend the changing rooms to include showers and a toilet for home and away teams. Club officials also want to make a better access to the field and improve car parking facilities.
Currently, players and officials must park up on surrounding residential streets.
Committee chairman Cllr Richard Child said nothing the club planned was irreversible and would improve facilities.
“We have to wait until this has been through the Fields in Trust before we can give a particular recommendation but we can approve in principle that they are acceptable,” he said.
Cllr John Blissett said the club’s plans made sense, especially given the current car parking situation at Tens Field.
He added: “The changing rooms do need a total revamp. There is a lot of work to be done.”
Town clerk Martin Clark said the club would need to apply for planning permission to Durham County Council, a process which could begin while the town council was in touch with Fields in Trust about the scheme.
Cllr Laura Drew urged support for the club, adding that if members did not, it could “put the kibosh” on the scheme.
Bowes FC currently plays in the first division of the Crook and District League on a Saturday. If the club is to progress and play at a higher level in future, it must have facilities to match.
Earlier this summer, the club – which does not have a junior section – unveiled plans to merge with Barnard Castle Junior FC, which is based at Green Lane Primary School.
Initially, the clubs have agreed to work collaboratively during the next two years, enabling them to share resources, equipment and facilities when needed, while also providing a pathway for the oldest juniors into adult football when they are of age.