After much discussion, both positive and negative, of our plans to expand Nethermoor, we wish to make the following statement to further explain why the developments are necessary and who they could benefit if realised.
The application forms part of the club’s ambitious plans to bring its facilities into the 21st century as it believes the level of them is holding it back across the board and particularly in the following areas:
First Team Football
Some 20 to 25 first team home games are currently played at Nethermoor each season in the Conference North, along with local and national F.A competitions. The current average attendance is around 700, with very occasional peaks where the ground accommodates a near capacity crowd of 2,000 plus.
The club recognises that spectator facilities are not the best and has sought to improve them over recent years with the building of stands that accommodate some 500 seats.
The current planning application seeks to replace one of the existing covered areas with a new stand of 300 seats to an identical design as one of the existing stands. The club is also looking to cover the existing terrace behind the goal and eventually behind the dugouts to a design that will match the existing stands and give Nethermoor the look and feel of a club that is going places.
The other areas of concern to be addressed in relation to the spectator match day experience is the lack of toilets and refreshment facilities at the railway end of the ground, a particular concern in early and late season when the ‘shared’ facilities in the social club are not available.
The past couple of years has seen the club make great strides in becoming involved in the local community. The recently formed Guiseley AFC Community Foundation is now a registered charity and is working closely with national charity ‘Action for Children’ and local organisations such as Aireborough Voluntary Services for the the Elderly Disabled (AVSED), Aireborough Extended Services and Guiseley Lions.
The activities of the Foundation are severely curtailed by the lack of basic facilities such as accessible rooms and toilets for the disabled. These shortcomings are to be addressed in the second phase of the club’s plans, currently at the design phase, and talks are taking place with AVSED with regard to their using the multi-purpose building as their headquarters.
The last two years has seen this go from strength to strength both on the field in terms of player development and in terms of using football as a hook to keep 16-19 year olds in school and obtaining University entry-level qualifications. The multi-purpose community building will be used to bring some of the education in-house and further expand the number of boys and girls who participate.
The club needs to achieve a capacity of 4,000 in order to meet the requirements of the Conference National League but the building of the facilities described is not going to add more than 10 or 20 percent to the existing crowds and many clubs in the division above us average around the 1,000 mark.
The club recognises that match day traffic and parking can be an issue but currently works with the police in advising visiting clubs as to where coaches and supporters’ cars should be parked.
The club’s website also displays instructions on match day parking and the use of public transport. It would be possible to arrange the placing of parking cones in more streets than at present, but unfortunately cones cannot discriminate between residents and visitors. The club would be more than willing to investigate the possibility of a match day residents’ parking scheme but is currently unaware of what that might involve.
All aspects of the club’s activities are inextricably linked in that progress on the field and in its community activities are planned to go hand in hand. The club would therefore ask all supporters of the club’s varied activities to voice their support for the plans as we seek to progress on and off the field.