On Friday 12 June, Bradford council signed the lease of Horsfall to Bradford Park Avenue for 35 years. The football club won’t be running the stadium however, it will now be run by a charity (Horsfall Community Stadium) and we as a club are represented on the board and will have a say in how the site is developed, specifically regarding athletics.
The first thing that will happen will be that the grass pitch will be replaced by an artificial 3G pitch. This will enable the pitch to be used more regularly without being damaged. There will be 4 new pitches for 5/7 a side which will be available for hire 7 days a week (except match days obviously). This means that the facility will be open all day every day so anyone will be able to use the track at any time. We will still, however, have our priority slots on Tuesday & Thursday evenings but in the future may expand to extra sessions if we feel that would be beneficial.
As well as the new pitch, the pavilion will be getting a refurbishment and there will be new changing rooms, toilets and a hospitality suite built in the corner where the containers are currently kept. There are also plans for a cafe and the current bar will also be refurbished.
Also, most importantly for us, the track will now finally get refurbished. This will hopefully be done by the end of summer but obviously depends on what is able to be done within the current government restrictions on large numbers of people in one place. The pitch will be the first to be done, then the rest of the work will follow as soon as is possible.
This obviously means that while this work is being done Horsfall will basically become a building site and will be unavailable for use. By the time we are able to meet again we should have a better idea of where we can and can’t use but the track will almost certainly still be out of use.
One of the main differences for us will be that there will be no vehicles allowed on site (except emergency & maintenance vehicles) so we will be using the car park at the Park Road end, along the road behind the main stand. Groups going out on the road can meet there, or at Cemetery Road, or even other areas away from Horsfall. This can be decided as and when we can start to meet up again without restrictions.
For the track sessions, we will probably have to use the top fields again, as we have done previously, but again, we will let you know when we get the OK to meet up again.
This may be a bit inconvenient for a short while, but at the end, we will hopefully have an excellent facility that we can use to take the club forward promoting athletics in Bradford and creating a refreshed image of Bradford Airedale within the Horsfall community sports hub alongside the football & Rugby League teams.
There is much that I’ve missed out here and even more that we don’t yet know the answer to but things are definitely more positive now than they were before, in a tired neglected venue.
This is a very exciting development that we will need to take advantage of and I hope that you will all help shape the “relaunch” of the club in this new venture.
Chris Hainsworth, Club Chair