Telford Schools boast new sports facilities

Laurence Gale MScin Local Authority

Telford Schools boast new sports facilities

By Laurence Gale MSc


Telford & Wrekin Council are set to open two new artificial sports pitch facilities in the borough in October. The redevelopment of two outdated redgra pitches based on 'Joint Use' sites had been under consideration for a number of years. When the New Opportunities Fund allocated funding through its PE and Sport (PES) programme to the Borough in November 2001, further research into artificial pitch options was undertaken to determine the best option for school, community and sports use. Since that time the New Opportunities Fund has changed to become known as the 'Big Lottery'.

The unitary authority gave responsibility of the management of the programme, including its project justification, to the Sports Development Unit based within its Education & Culture Portfolio. This approach was adopted to ensure the justification and programme development took a balanced view of both school and community needs.

The Sports Development Unit had to ensure the Council met the terms and conditions of the funding criteria which was to be implemented in two stages. The initial stage was to justify the Local Education Authority (LEA) main project portfolio needs for PE and Sport in the area. Stage two involved a process of examining and tightening up the bids, looking closely at the specifications and funds available - being able to afford what you want.

To successfully negotiate the two stages the Council's portfolio had to also meet the following six PES outcomes:

  • Improve physical education and sport in schools.

  • Higher standards across the whole school through PE, Sport and other forms of structured activity.

  • Better opportunities to increase the levels of physical activity among the school age population and, more generally, local communities.

  • Improve collaboration, co-operation and partnership between schools and their communities.

  • Promotion of social inclusion through access to and use of sports and outdoor adventure facilities by all groups in society.

  • Innovation and the best practice in the design and management of facilities.

The council was able to offer additional evidence of the need for these facilities, through Ofsted reports, Suitability Surveys, public consultation and liaison with regional sports governing bodies including hockey. The two pitches are also recognised within the Borough's Cultural, Sport and Recreation and Playing Pitch strategies as having strategic importance for the promotion of PE, Sport and Physical Activity in the area. The final LEA PES portfolio also included the building of a new sports hall and the modernisation of accommodation at an Outdoor Education Centre.

Madeley Court Specialist Sports College and Sports Centre

The award will build a new full size synthetic turf pitch with floodlighting at the school. The all weather surface will be used for a variety of games including netball, hockey and football and will benefit over 600 pupils at the school as well as more than 500 from other schools in the area. The pitch will also be available for use by clubs and the community and is expected to attract over 2,500 individual users. The school became a Specialist Sports College September 2004, coinciding with the handover of the new pitch.

Oakengates Joint Use Leisure Centre

Funding will provide a new full size floodlit synthetic turf pitch at this Joint Use Leisure Centre. The project will serve two large secondary schools and the local community; aiming to cater for hockey, football, cricket, netball, rounder, tag rugby and tennis. There will be over 2000 school users who will benefit from the new facility as well as over 2500 community users.

Stage one was achieved April 2002, with stage two applications submitted in the summer of 2003. Having met all the criteria and satisfying the lottery conditions. A sum of £1.2 million pounds was allocated to fund both projects, with works starting in the summer of 2004.


Both new developments were built on top of old Redgra all weather sports pitches, which had been laid down in the mid 1970's. All the old Redgra material was removed from site and new stone materials were then added to build up the existing base profile. New drainage systems were then installed into the base layers. A 45mm layer of porous tarmacadam was then laid over the whole area to complete the base works.

The installation of the insitu rubber and artificial grass systems was undertaken by Specialist Sports Surfaces Ltd working for Spade Oak Duracourt. The artificial system employed at the two sites consisted of a 20mm in situ rubber shock pad installed on top of the tarmacadam with Tiger Turf 's HT18 (18mm pile carpet) synthetic sand dressed grass carpet with inlaid lines laid onto the shock pad.



Laying rolls of carpet

Inlaid hockey lines



Cut in lines

Touch lines for hockey / football



86 tonnes of sand

Rink 1520 top spreader

The installation of the 20mm rubber shock pads took a week to lay at each site and two weeks to lay the carpet and lines. Over 250 x 11kg pots of glue were used to bond the carpets down and 600 telford-artificials,nmathew.jpg

Both of these new facilities will be managed as 'Joint Use' school and community centres, with the schools having access to these facilities duringtelford-robin-glover.jpg

Two key players who have been involved since the start of the project are the two operation managers located at each site. Matthew Newens (Left) at Madeley and Robin Glover (Right) at Oakengates, both have been responsible for overseeing the day to day management of the project and will also be involved in organising the future marketing and running of the two sites.

Additional staff will be appointed to ensure that both facilities are maintained and managed effectively catering for the demand from both school and community groups.


Both projects are nearing completion with the pitch handovers expected during September and official opening of the facilities due sometime in December 2004. The benefits these facilities will offer both the school and the communities of Telford are huge, with increased sport participation and sport activities, benefiting all age groups. These facilities along with the many others now available in Telford will definitely promote the opportunities for people to take part in active sport and become a healthy community.

For further information on Big Lottery funding visit their web site at:

Information about Telford & Wrekin Council visit following link:

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