£1m Gloucester sports centre to be managed by local football club
By Laura Enfield | 11th October 2023
A £1 million sports centre in Gloucester finally looks set to open - two years after it was completed.
The facilities at Coppers Edge were finished in 2021 but have sat empty due to delays in passing ownership to Tewkesbury Borough Council.
The council announced this morning (Oct 11) that management of the sports centre has now been "entrusted" to Barnwood Utd AFC after it won a tendering process.
Years of wrangling over transfer of the ownership of the centre were resolved earlier this year.
But another legal process is now needed to formally pass management to the football club, meaning it is still not known exactly when the centre will open.
When it finally does, the public will be able to make use of two playing pitches, an all-weather multi-use games area with floodlights and an artificial pitch and a pavilion.
The facilities have been designed to cater for players of all ages and abilities and sports including football, basketball, and netball and were built by Vistry Group.
Cllr Alex Hegenbarth, Tewkesbury Borough Council's lead member for housing, health and wellbeing, said: "We are looking forward to working with Barnwood Utd to develop sport and activity in the area.
"This outstanding facility will not only serve to promote healthy lifestyles, but will also strengthen the community and foster a sense of belonging.
"The club has demonstrated impressive plans to encourage the local community to be active and to inspire residents to use the new hub - and we are excited to work alongside them to deliver their vision."
Barnwood United has been part of Gloucester's sporting community since 1978. The FA accredited club has a first team in Gloucestershire Northern Senior League Division 2 and its reserve team plays in Stroud & District Football League Division 3. It also has two youth teams.
Phil Powell, chair of Barnwood Utd AFC, said: "We are honoured the council has entrusted these facilities into our care.
"Coopers Edge is very familiar to us and has been the primary focus of our recent club development."
Many key club personnel live in Coppers Edge and almost half of its youth players go to Coopers Edge School or live in the area.
Over the last 12 months the club has provided free football coaching to the school and has and this season has started hiring the school playing field for youth matches.
Mr Powell added: " The brand-new facilities underpin our strategic targets which will bring volunteering opportunities and a range of activities to Coopers Edge.
"We can't wait to introduce ourselves properly."
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