Helston AFC plan new grandstand and floodlights
6:00am Thursday 7th February 2013 in News
Helston AFC could one day be playing in the FA Cup if it is given the green light to build a grandstand and floodlights.
The club is looking to break into the premier division of the Peninsula League, but to do this it must first improve facilities at the Kellaway Parc ground.
Currently in division one west, Helston is at present second in the league, behind Godolphin Atlantic, and has a good chance of promotion – yet this could all be in vain.
Rules of the league state that clubs may only enter step six, the premier division, if facilities reach a particular level.
This includes having fencing or railing around the ground and changing rooms of a certain standard, but it is the seating and floodlighting that are key for Helston. Once planning permission is in place, however, Helston would be eligible for promotion even if the work has yet to be carried out. The club would then get two years to carry out the work.
Sid Taylor, first team manager, said: “It is potentially very exciting times. The whole club would go forward on and off the pitch.”
A promotion would mean supporters could enjoy a higher standard of football at matches, as a new range of clubs such as Falmouth and Newquay took on the Helston first team.
Not only this, but the club would be able to enter FA competitions, such as the prestigious FA Cup – which Helston has not been involved in for many years – and FA Vase, which Helston has never entered.
“It’s all positive for Helston,” added Mr Taylor. “Once you have got lights and stands in there’s nothing you can’t get over. It could a huge step for the club if they make it.”
It is estimated the cost of the whole scheme will come close to £80,000. Although investigations into possible funding are already underway, chairman Roger Hannaford said he hoped the whole town would get behind the club.
“It’s the town’s football club,” he said. “We would welcome community interest and anybody who would have funding thoughts or ways of helping us achieve our goal, such as sponsorship.”
People can contact the club by calling 01326 573742 during evenings or weekends.
A planning application for a 50-seat mini grandstand and seven floodlights was lodged with Cornwall Council last week through RA Design, which is giving the work free of charge, and a consultation process will now begin.
The club has already met with residents in the immediate surrounding area, to answer questions and explain the plans, which Mr Hannaford said generally received support.
“It’s very aspirational for us and a lot of hard work still to come to get us towards that. But there’s many other clubs around the county that have achieved this and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t also,” he concluded.