Green light for Bowes FC's plans to develop 'football hub' in Barnard Castle
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
BOWES FC officials have been given a major boost in their goal of improving facilities at the Tens Field football pitch.
The club, which plays in the Crook and District Saturday league, has been given planning permission to extend the changing rooms and develop car parking in the ground for 20 vehicles.
The scheme will also see a new entrance to Tens Field created from Kalafat and an end to players and supporters having to park up in residential areas.
Both sides of the existing changing rooms will be extended to provide better facilities to players of both teams, including new showers and toilets.
The improvements are expected to cost between £40,000 and £50,000.
Bowes FC chairperson John Close said permission for car parking was a “win-win” for both the club and neighbouring residents.
He said residents had become frustrated with players parking outside their homes – even though they were doing nothing wrong – and this had led to tension.
“We said this to the county council. Now players, supporters and volunteers can park and residents won’t have their cars on a Saturday afternoon.”
The improvements are the latest to be made at the ground since the club moved to Tens Field from its former home at Shaw Bank.
The pitch has been extended and drainage improved.
Fencing around the ground has also been rebuilt and undergrowth cleared.
Some work to improve the changing facilities has already taken place, thanks to cash from Teesdale Action Partnership.
Mr Close said all the work was part of the club’s plan to make Tens Field a footballing hub for Barnard Castle – a move that will also see Bowes FC amalgamate with the Barnard Castle FC juniors set-up.
Looking to the future, Mr Close said the intention was to improve facilities to allow the club to compete at a higher level in the FA footballing pyramid system.
The aim is to reach step seven, playing in the Wearside League.
“In order to do that, we have got to meet ground requirements,” he said.
“We have got to be ambitious. We want to compete at that level and we think a town of Barnard Castle’s size can sustain it.
“A lot of for people from the area want to play at Wearside League and Northern League level but have not been able to here because there was no team of that standard.”
As far as action on the pitch – or rather the lack of it – Mr Close said it had been a frustrating time for the club and its players.
Bowes FC last played a game in October – and there is little prospect of a resumption any time soon.
“I don’t think there is any chance of us getting any more football in this season. Teams have barely completed any league games.”