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New £7 Million Pound Sports Facility for Folkestone

A new £7 million sports facility opened its doors in Folkestone today, providing a centre of excellence for hockey, cricket, netball and running. Three Hills Sports Park – off Cheriton Road near Morrison’s Supermarket – will provide facilities for a range of other sports to be played, both indoors and outdoors.

The centre was officially opened by Rt Hon Hugh Robertson MP, Minister for Sport, Olympic Legacy and Tourism. It is the realisation of an ambition by Folkestone Optimist Hockey Club and Folkestone Cricket Club to create facilities that will help develop their sports and sustain them in the future.

Representatives of both clubs met Roger De Haan, who was impressed by the approach of the project team and encouraged them to develop more ambitious plans. Netball was introduced as a third core sport and the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust offered a substantial grant to cover all of the development and construction costs (amounting to over £6.8million) and Shepway District Council agreed to support the venture by providing 125 year lease on a peppercorn rental.

Three Hills Sports Park includes a range of artificial playing surfaces, 2 cricket pitches, a sports hall and a clubhouse including changing facilities. These include a national standard hockey Astroturf pitch with water deluge; a multi-use Astroturf pitch – for hockey, football or netball; 2 cricket pitches – 1 county standard and 1 club standard ; 2 netball courts; a hockey practice area; 4 outdoor cricket practice nets; a multi-use games area.

The sports hall is designed as multi use with specific provision for first class indoor cricket games; cricket training with 6 cricket lanes and nets; indoor hockey; indoor netball (2 courts); indoor football. It can be subdivided to allow 2 cricket nets to be used with the rest of the hall available for 5 aside football.

There are outdoor viewing balconies for the cricket and Astroturf pitches. An indoor viewing balcony overlooks the Sports Hall. There is a reception desk and sports equipment shop, and full disabled access throughout.

The Clubhouse includes changing rooms, umpires’ and visiting officials’ rooms, first aid room, and a small gym intended for use by members of the core clubs. Other facilities include a large bar and function suite, that can divided to hire for a variety of functions, including training and business presentations and catered events, including weddings. This is expected to provide a valuable income stream. There is a fully equipped catering kitchen to support this.

The Cheriton Road Sports Ground Trust (CRSGT) was formed to manage the venture and to create a plan for continuous maintenance and renewal of Three Hills’ facilities, with trustees representing each of the partner clubs. The Trust’s wider remit is to promote community participation in healthy recreation. The centre will be contract managed by Freedom Leisure, a not for profit leisure trust that manages 33 sites in Kent, Surrey and Sussex on behalf of councils, schools, sports clubs and other partners