All change at Brantham Athletic

IT’S ALL change off the pitch at Brantham Athletic.

The leisure centre where the Ridgeons League Premier Division club play has undergone a �400,000 facelift since the end of last season.

Work, which is due to be completed in the next couple of weeks, has meant Brantham have had to play all their fixtures away from home in the opening weeks of the new campaign.

Brantham enjoyed a successful homecoming when they beat Great Yarmouth Town 5-0 last Saturday and followed that up with a 3-1 win against Felixstowe & Walton United in midweek to make it seven wins in nine league games this season to back up star striker Ollie Mann’s belief that they can challenge for the title this season. Brantham, who are now up to fifth, today entertain Premier Division leaders Wroxham.

Alan Clarke, vice chairman of the football club, said the work will not only benefit the football club but also the bowls, cricket, netball and tennis sections that use the facilities at Brantham Leisure Centre.

The main entrance will now be via what was the back of the clubhouse while inside, the lounge area has had a complete refurbishment and there is a new reception area, as well as new changing rooms, a kitchen and gentlemen’s, ladies’ and disabled toilets.

Robbie Rothwell, who has managed the project on behalf of the leisure centre and been involved in discussions with funding bodies, said that the Football Foundation facilities scheme and the Football Foundation’s stadia improvement fund had contributed 25 per cent each - a total of nearly �170,000 - towards the overall cost of the changing rooms.

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The total cost of the project will be nearer �400,000, with some of the balance coming from private donations.

The work has been undertaken by AH Property Services, the Newcastle-based firm owned by Brantham Athletic manager Tony Hall, who won the contract after it was put out to open tender.

Rothwell praised Mark Hatley, of Saffron Walden-based architects Wilby and Burnett, and also Peter Crowhurst, who is chairman of both the football club and the leisure centre, and his company London-based building services consultants firm, Long and Partners for their contributions.

Clarke said that the work was the first phase of improvements at the leisure centre. The club is now planning to apply for funding for an all-weather surface.

The opening of the new facilities is planned to take place before Christmas.

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