News Article

Government pledges support for £70 million Cheshire FA Knights Grange sports development

22 October 2020

Boris Johnson has pledged his support for a £70 million world class sports facility in Winsford.

In Prime Minister's Questions yesterday, Boris Johnson said: "This is a very exciting project and I welcome Cheshire FA's commitment to providing a new world class facility for women's and girl's football and I look forward to the proposed opening of the centre in Winsford."

Eddisbury MP Edward Timpson, who has been championing the development, asked the Prime Minister to confirm his support for the Women's and Girl's National Centre for Sports Excellence, after Covid had affected participation levels in female sport.

Boris's support has been welcomed by the team behind the ambitious Cheshire FA Vision 20/20.

Stuart Manifold, project director, said: "Boris and Edward Timpson's involvement is welcome. We've still got a long way to go but we are making good progress. This can only help."

A world-renowned luxury international hotel group has come on board and extensive talks have been held with a partner to manage a health centre.

The name of the hotel is being kept under wraps until more details are finalised.

"Detailed designs of the hotel will begin very shortly," said Stuart. "We are in talks with a partner to offer community and private services at a health centre on site.

"There will be opportunities for everyone to get involved in sport. It will put Winsford on the map. We will be the envy of other towns."

Work is now well underway to develop a planning application to be submitted to Cheshire West and Chester Council in the spring, followed by community consultation. The centre could open in 2023.

Tim Ashcroft, chairman of Winsford Residents' Steering Group, said: "I am very excited for the community. Boris's support for the development provides a national and official recognition of the development and reconfirmation of the intention for it to be built and be operational as soon as possible.

"Based on current estimates it looks like the project is delayed by five or six months."

The project will create many jobs and provide community facilities.

"It is anticipated that the health centre will offer a wide range of services and support to the wider community and could include a MRI scanning facility, haematology, orthopaedic rehab and physiotherapy services," said Tim. "What is great about this is that it is not for profit, reinvesting in the community and grassroots sport.

"It is about raising the profile of Winsford in a positive way."

Career opportunities will be created for many young people.

"The project is working closely with Winsford Academy," said Tim "There will be partnerships for education and opportunities for learning through work experience. It will lead to jobs locally in hospitality, groundsmanship and sport.

"Overall, the benefit for the community is great. It will drive energy through the town. There is a lot of sport down there already, there were 14 team matches going on the other day.

"It is not just centred on football, there is tennis and athletics and many other aspects beyond the original pitches committed to, to provide support to a wide range of sport. Golf has been more recently discussed and a potential opportunity is being explored there.

"This project will be tremendous and will give people opportunities on their own doorstep."