Bishop’s Cleeve are awaiting confirmation of a grant from the Football Foundation which will allow them to install a new 3G pitch in place of the current natural grass surface. Writes Jon Palmer in Gloucestershire Live.
The plans for Kayte Lane also include new floodlights, a replacement perimeter around the pitch and a 4.5m ball retention fence surrounding the ground.
In what will be the biggest alteration to Cleeve’s home base since the clubhouse was built in 2004, the car park will also be lined and Tarmacadamed, along with the hard standing areas on all four sides.
Chairman Dave Walker (pictured left) hopes the work can be completed before the start of the 2021/22 season.
Four contractors have submitted tender to carry out the work and the club are waiting to hear the outcome before a second tender takes place to ensure they are all working to the same specifications.
After that it will be down to Cleeve and the Football Foundation to decide who is awarded the job.
“It’ll then be a case of obtaining planning permission and finalising the funding because we don’t have anything in writing yet, but I am confident it’ll all go through,” Walker said. “There is definitely demand for another 3G pitch in the Tewkesbury Borough Council area and the Football Association have acknowledged that. I am hoping by the end of September we will have the schematics in place and we can invite people to have a look at the plans. We want to engage with the local community because this will be massive for them and this can strengthen our relationship.”
When Cleeve initially leased Kayte Lane at the turn of the Millennium, it was just a field with sheep in it, but they have since turned it into a neat and tidy non-league venue, with stands on both sides. The team were forced to groundshare with clubs including Moreton Town, Forest Green Rovers, Wollen Sports (Highworth) and Evesham United, both before they moved back home and again while they awaited the installation of floodlights to allow them to progress up the football pyramid.
Pictured right is the manager who guided them through those nomadic days, Paul Collicutt, who is now back in charge ahead of the 2020/21 Hellenic League Premier Division campaign after nine years away.
They are due to play their first pre-season friendly behind-closed-doors against Stratford Town on Saturday, with Worcester City due to visit on August 25.
Walker has spent many hours this summer, along with club secretary Nigel Green and his wife Hilary, sprucing up the ground ready for the long-awaited return of football.