Vision 2020

Building football for the future in Cheshire

Building football for the future. 

Cheshire County FA, in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council and ION Developments, has confirmed its intention to open a unique world class football facility in Northwich, Cheshire. This project will significantly enhance the development of Football For All across this great county. The site will become a leading centre for the provision of women and girls football and Cheshire FA can also confirm that we are in discussions with a WSL1 club to become a partner on what will be a ‘best in class’ football environment. The site will boast a full facility luxury hotel and spa that can be enjoyed by the local community, as well as visiting professional sports people.

Dave Edmunds, the Chairman of Cheshire County Football Association, comments "This proposal will see Cheshire at the forefront of County FA Football Development at every level of the game.  Our aim is to provide a fantastic facility that will significantly increase opportunities and experiences for all participants within the game, be they individuals or Clubs.  At a time when the Football Association is targeting the doubling of participation in the women’s game, this will also give Cheshire and our partners the chance to lead the way, and create a lasting legacy not only for women’s and girl’s football, but the whole game throughout the County of Cheshire."

Within the setting of a Medical Centre, full injury treatment and rehabilitation will be offered on site as part of our determination to provide outstanding amenities and opportunities to our entire football community. With a number of 3G football pitches, one of which will be covered and six high quality grass football pitches for exclusive use with our grassroots clubs, we aim to advance playing opportunities For All. An exclusive Youth Zone will be a focal point of the new site, allowing young players to enjoy the game on top quality pitches and in a safe and engaging environment.

Steve Parry, Managing Director of ION Developments says, “We are greatly looking forward to bringing what will become a world-class football centre with luxury hotel to Cheshire. The finished development will not only enhance Cheshire’s brilliant reputation as a footballing destination and bring hotel rooms to a thriving tourism destination, but will also give women and girls football the much needed state-of-the-art facilities to help reach its full potential.”

Keith Ashton, Chief Executive of our architects Space & Place writes, “We’ve been designing sports facilities for 40 years now from Olympic Games venues to community sport clubhouses but rarely does a project such as this excite us so much. A real opportunity to design a facility that truly makes a difference from grassroots participants to elite level athletes in one place.”

Two FIFA quality Grassmaster Hybrid pitches will also be located on the site, with one flanked by a 1000 seat stadium for Cheshire FA and partner operations. Our second Hybrid pitch will be allocated to private training for our visiting national teams or indeed international teams using the site in preparation for domestic or European competition.

Louise Gear, Head of Women’s Football Participation at The FA says, “This is an innovative proposal and great news for aspiring female footballers across Cheshire. Excellent facilities mean more opportunities, better players, and more enjoyment. Centres like this can only aid our aspiration of doubling participation in the women’s game by 2020”.

Sally Horrox, Managing Partner, Y Sport says, “Profile and interest in women’s football, not just in England, but worldwide is growing fast with FIFA, UEFA and The FA all seeking to dramatically increase the number of girls playing the sport over the next decade. Leading Associations, clubs and leagues are creating robust strategies to realize the huge potential of the women’s’ game – including the development of ground breaking new facilities. 

As industry experts in this field, we are delighted to be working with Cheshire FA and its partners to realise its ambition – to be the first in the UK to deliver an integrated, state of the art facility with a focus on greater access for women and girls to participate in community and professional club football. With this will come more and better opportunities for both girls and boys to play and work in the game, building self - confidence, strong friendships and life skills – all part of Cheshire FA’s Vision to change lives through football”.

As part of our commitment to education, we are proposing to have four high quality and innovative education spaces designed to create and develop the coaches and referees of the future. By using the latest technology for player and game analysis, we will be well placed to be a leading institution for football education. Working alongside our partners, we also aim to deliver academic and occupational courses and apprenticeships with direct links to the elite performance pathway and hospitality/events courses to the wider community.

Cheshire FA’s vision is ‘Changing Lives Through Football’ and that is exactly what we want to achieve. Cheshire FA Business & Operations Manager and Site Founder Stuart Manifould says, “This site will become a world renowned facility for the development of women’s football and will significantly improve the life chances and opportunities of all those involved in the game at every level. We’re excited at the prospect of engaging with our partners and primary & secondary schools to create a legacy for the community that can have a positive impact for generations to come”.

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing at Chester West and Chester Council, Councillor Louise Gittins said: “The proposal will be an amazing new asset for the borough as it will create a significant number of jobs for local people. In addition to this, we will be engaging with education provision and establishments together with our partners to ensure the site can be used to its full capacity. We will actively encourage the use of the facilities for other non-football activities such as fishing, walking, running, educational talks and schemes and nature projects. We want the site to be used extensively for the benefit of the community and the borough, and not just for football.”

Cheshire FA General Manager Steve Stewart adds, “In all of our County FA planning and delivery at Cheshire FA, we often talk about how football creates so many significant connections in our lives – how it brings a deeper quality to who we are and what we become - and how it creates unforgettable life-long memories. Our commitment to this stunning mission will do all of these things. To say we are excited by the endless possibilities this project will produce is a serious understatement!”

Further information about this exciting and ground-breaking development will be released as plans progress. We’d like to thank all of our partners for their support up to this point and we look forward to engaging with the community in June 2018. 

Key Facts


  • Investment circa £70Million.
  • Potential for the site to become home for a WSL1 Club.
  • 2 FIFA Standard Grassmaster Hybrid Pitches.
  • 1000 seat stadium.
  • Luxury Hotel and Spa.
  • 2 3G pitches.
  • 6 High Quality Grass pitches.
  • 18 month build time from planning permission.
  • Significant job opportunities for the local community.
  • Youth Zone.
  • World Class education facilities.

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Project Video
Vision 2020 Fly Through