After a long and frustrating wait, Berkhamsted Raiders and the local community will be able to make use of the new playing fields at Durrants Lane. Conceived in 2013, the playing fields were created four years ago under a s106 agreement linked to the Bearroc Park housing development. Last week, Berkhamsted Raiders signed a long-term lease with Herts CC to secure access to the new pitches and the adjacent car park.
The complex legal issues around the agreements relating to the site have now been resolved with Herts CC and Dacorum BC and the site will provide three much-needed youth football pitches to accommodate the growth of girls’ and boys’ football at Raiders. Raiders currently provides football for 1,200 children in its 94 teams and includes 250 girls in its fast growing girls’ section.
Unfortunately, the site was developed without any supporting facilities; Raiders will be providing temporary toilets and storage on site to support use of the pitches. A permanent solution to the shortcomings is being worked on. Raiders has developed plans for a small community building on the site, will submit a full planning application and will seek funding from the Football Foundation, local councils and the community to finance the development.
The new playing fields at the top of Durrants Lane are a public open space. Raiders will have priority of use for the football pitches and will fund the maintenance of the playing fields and share the maintenance of the car park across the road with Egerton Rothesay School. Raiders will encourage the use of the site for other community groups who provide opportunities for the local community to participate in sport and physical activity. Local running groups – Jog On and the Hospice Running Group have already expressed interested in making use of the playing fields for their members.
Raiders Chair of Trustees, Chris Armond, says: ‘I’m delighted that this agreement has now been signed – it means we can continue to increase our football facilities for the local community supporting our aim to grow access to girls, boys and all levels of inclusive football in the Berkhamsted area. Many thanks to Keith Pollard and Herts County Council for making this happen.’