Colchester United FC training ground proves tough challenge for Speedcut

Mike Beardallin Industry News

Colchester United FC\'s traing ground after primary drainage installed by Speedcut Contractors DSC 0041   CopySpeedcut Contractors have completed five football pitches at the Colchester United FC Training ground at Tiptree in Essex - one of the toughest jobs they have done.

"The ground conditions were incredibly difficult," says Speedcut contracts manager Barry Pace. "Because of the thick clay overlaying gravel our machinery was constantly under strain, despite tungsten tips on the cutters."

Drainage began with the construction of an outfall into a massive soakaway, then the whole site (seven hectares) was laser graded and primary drainage installed at five metre centres.

The pitches themselves were each of a different construction to provide varied playing conditions.

Barry Pace of Speedcut Contractors at Colchester United FC training ground with sand applied over rubber crumb on one of the main pitches   CopyThe community pitch, which will be used by local clubs, was prepared and seeded using existing soil from the site, after stonepicking.

The four main training pitches each had different rootzone treatments - all had rubber crumb incorporated.

One pitch has rubber crumb incorporated into the existing soil before seeding.

Another had rubber crumb ameliorated into the soil before 5cms of sand was applied and seeded.

The third had 5cms of fibre-reinforced rootzone applied over a rubber crumb-ameliorated base.

Speedcut applying fibre reinforced rootzone over rubber crumb at Colchester United FC training ground. The new clubhouse takes shapes behind. DSC 0473   CopyThe fourth had a 10cms of fibre reinforced rootzone placed over two and half centimetres of rubber crumb.

All the pitches were sown with a ryegrass/fescue mix and the entire site has a full pop-up irrigation system installed by Dax Environmental Ltd - a Colchester-based company.

One problem that had not been envisaged was the discovery of a large filled-in pond which had about 11 old cars buried in it.

"This was a job full of challenges but we enjoyed working with Colchester United FC and the main construction team from APH Ltd," said Barry. "Speedcut had a team of six working on the site for about 12 weeks and we brought in 6,000 tonnes of materials for pitch construction, including gravel for drainage trenches fibre-reinforced rootzone material and rubber crumb.

"With the constant wear of stones on the Mastenbroek trencher we were battling the conditions - but we are delighted with the final outcome and seed has germinated well."

The new Colchester training ground is having a fully-equipped clubhouse with all facilities built by APH Ltd.

SPEEDCUT DETAILS: 01865 331479.

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