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Hednesford Town FC car park set to triple in size

By Carl Jackson | Hednesford | News | Published:

Hednesford Town Football Club’s car park could be more than tripled in size by developers of a neighbouring housing estate – but club staff and fans will be told not to drive to the ground regardless.

Hednesford's Keys Park ground

Taylor Wimpey has failed to get planning permission for 119 homes next to Keys Park on three occasions with Cannock Chase District Council deferring its scheme each time.

The main issue is the estate will swallow up land where dozens of fans park their cars on match days prompting fears vehicles will instead be left on surrounding estate roads.

Now, with the scheme heading to Cannock Chase District Council’s planning committee for a fourth time, Taylor Wimpey has proposed to expand The Pitmen’s car park increasing the number of designated spaces from 74 to 251.

Another measure will be for a ‘Travel Plan Coordinator’ to be hired.

Cars at the ground for the visit of Stafford Rangers on New Year's Day. Photo: Paul Woodhead

Their role will be to ‘encourage football club staff and visitors to travel by sustainable modes of travel as an alternative to the private car’.

Taylor Wimpey will stump up £8,000 to secure a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO).

This will include installing double yellow lanes on the new development’s ‘spine road’ while other roads will be regulated by a ‘Controlled Parking Zone’ allowing residents and their visitors to park outside their homes on match days because they will be granted a permit.

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Hednesford Town FC, who play in the Northern Premier League, have also agreed not to hold ‘non-football functions’ within two hours of a football match finishing.

Taylor Wimpey said: “The proposed development is located on open land currently used, if required, by Hednesford Town Football Club on match days as ‘informal’ overspill parking. This arrangement is not effectively managed and is therefore very inefficient.

“All parties have agreed that by properly regulating the car parking many of the perceived problems will be overcome.”

It states all parking bays will be ‘laid and marked out’ adding: “There are currently only approximately 74 designated car parking spaces at the stadium, this arrangement therefore provides significant betterment to the existing arrangements and provides legacy for the football club.”

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Development officers on the council have once again recommended the scheme be approved. The planning committee deferred the plans on December 6.

But concerns over the impact on parking have intensified since then following the visit of local rivals Stafford Rangers on New Year’s Day when nearly 900 fans to turn up at Keys Park - more than double this season’s typical attendance.

Councillor Paul Woodhead, who represents the area, photographed the number of cars on the day claiming around 300 were parked in the car park and on the development site while more than 70 were left on nearby roads.

He has previously stated that failure to resolve the parking issues incurred by the new estate may put supporters off attending.

The proposal came up again at the planning committee on January 3 but the panel postponed a decision again stating ‘highways issues’ had not been resolved.

The committee will meet on Wednesday to determine the application.

Carl Jackson

By Carl Jackson

Local Democracy Reporting Service

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