PLANS to build a 'world-class' football facility in Winsford have been scrapped.

For four years now Cheshire Football Centre Limited has been working on proposals to construct a multisport facility and hotel at Knights Grange.

This would have served as a centre of excellence for women’s and girl’s football and was earmarked to become the new home of an unnamed Women’s Super League team.

However, increased construction and borrowing costs, and a lack of availability of external grant funding, has resulted in the project being scrapped.

Terry Harrop, chair of Cheshire Football Centre Ltd, said: “It is with much regret that we are no longer able to deliver our ambitions for a multi-sports centre on the site.

“Unfortunately, wider economic conditions and a lack of ability to secure significant third-party funding has meant that we and our partners Ion Developments are not able to make the project work, despite support from Cheshire West and Chester Council.”

Tim Ashcroft, chair of the Knights Grange Residents’ Steering Group, added: “The challenges of the last few years from Covid and many other factors have meant the original development plan proved to be undeliverable.

“This is a fact of life we know that many other projects and developments have had to face.”

Despite this news, Cheshire West and Chester Council has committed to developing and enhancing grassroots sport at Knights Grange.

The council will look to work with a range of stakeholders to ensure the site is protected from housing and other commercial development, remaining a community asset.

They are planning to improve facilities as well as cycleways and footpaths, connecting the park with Weaver Valley and Whitegate Way.

There are also plans to create new and improved woodland, nature conservation sites and habitats to improve biodiversity.

Meanwhile, unused buildings will be refurbished and redeveloped.

Cllr Nathan Pardoe, the council's cabinet member for inclusive economy, regeneration and digital transformation, said: “Following the news Cheshire Football Centre Ltd is unable to deliver their proposals for a multisport facility in Winsford, I am pleased CWAC has stepped up and committed to make Knights Grange an even better sports and recreation facility.

“Knights Grange is already a fantastic asset for the people of Winsford, but the council recognises it needs investment and the community needs certainty about its future.

“Knights Grange will continue to provide recreation opportunities for all of our residents, and its future is secure as the council will protect the whole of the site from inappropriate development such as housing.”

He added: “Knights Grange will continue as a hub for grassroots sports, outdoor recreation, and the enjoyment of nature.

“To deliver this, the council will work with local residents, sporting groups and other stakeholders on an ongoing investment programme for the complex to provide a place that’s open for the whole town to enjoy.”

Mr Ashcroft added: “We are pleased to see that this has evolved into a long-term, more sustainable, and more deliverable vision and plan which puts Knights Grange at the heart of our community.

“Knights Grange is more than just sports fields. It is a place where Winsford residents of all ages come for leisure, exercise, to meet, and to enjoy the outdoors and nature.

"It is a key asset for our community which we are pleased to see CWAC are now taking the lead to protect and develop, and we look forward to working with them.”