Decision details

Grassroots Football - Grant Acceptance, Virement of Council Match Funding and Pavilion Contract Award Approval

Decision Maker: Tourism, Communities, Culture & Leisure Committee

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No


The report detailed the results of two years of successful partnership development work with the football foundation.


Previously, a report seeking committee authorisation to develop partnerships and specific sites, to develop the Council’s grassroots football offer was taken to Tourism, Communities, Culture and Leisure (TCCL) committee on 23 November 2020. This approach was approved. An update report was taken to TCCL committee on 8th March 2022. The report advised that should funding be awarded, there would be a further report to TCCL committee to seek authorisation to accept the funding.



Resolved – That the Tourism, Communities, Culture and Leisure Committee authorises the Director of Neighbourhood Services to:


(1) Review the grant offer letters and associated conditions attached in Appendix 1 and 2 for Wirral Tennis and Sports Centre and Woodchurch Leisure Centre and accept both grant offers from the Football Foundation.


(2) Vire match funding of £114,000 from an existing approved Capital Programme Budget - ‘Health & Safety - Condition Surveys’, and vire an underspend of £68,000 from ‘Wirral Tennis Centre 3G’ project to a newly established, ‘Woodchurch Leisure Centre supersize 3G pitch and pavilion’ budget.


(3) Award the tendered pavilion contract to Lyjon Construction Ltd, in the sum of £859,867.13 with regards to the development of the facility based within the grounds of Woodchurch Leisure Centre (part of the overall project and the procurement element for which was managed by the Council).


In addition it was resolved (with the approval of the Chief Executive) that,


(4) The Committee determined that the decisions referred to above be not subject to removal of delegation and reconsideration under Part 4 Section 4 of the Constitution because the delay likely to be caused would lead to the withdrawal of the grant offers from the Football Foundation which would seriously prejudice the interests of the Council and of the public.


Reasons for the decision:

The report also informed that the Football Association and Football Foundation had targeted Wirral as an area for special consideration, in terms of attracting grant aid towards the development of new Artificial Grass Pitches. This was in direct response to the exponential growth in grassroots junior football over the past few years in all age groups and all abilities (both in the men and women’s game) throughout Wirral.


As stated in Wirral’s Playing Pitch and Outdoor Sports Strategy – the Borough has approximately fourteen artificial grass pitches short of meeting demand. This is evidenced in Wirral’s Local Football Facility Plan.



Alternative options considered:

Do not progress: This would have a negative impact on the Council’s image and reputation with strategic partners in the football community including Tranmere Rovers FC, Liverpool FC, Everton FC, Merseyside Sport, Sport England, Cheshire FA and the Football Foundation. The Council would not have to invest any of its own funds, but similarly would not receive any capital or revenue grant funding. A new facility would not be developed which would significantly impact on the present and future communities in Wirral. Adverse socio-economic impacts would be compounded and there would be no commercial income from kitchen sales and pitch bookings. Finally, the Council would need to accept a deteriorating stock of grass pitches and increased ongoing maintenance costs.


Permit other organisations to develop proposals: A core objective for the Council is to take responsibility and grasp opportunities to develop commercial leisure facilities. It should not be left to external organisations to develop and manage sites of such strategic importance. Where possible external organisations should be encouraged to develop proposals ‘in partnership’ with the Council in order to meet the pitch shortage.


Council does not enter into grant funding partnerships with external partners and underwrites the full cost of these building these facilities: Disengage the partnership with the Football Foundation and fund future sites solely with Council funds – this was rejected as the Council would otherwise have had to find approximately £2m of internal funding for these two sites alone.

Publication date: 26/07/2022

Date of decision: 26/07/2022

Decided at meeting: 26/07/2022 - Tourism, Communities, Culture & Leisure Committee

Accompanying Documents: